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Franz Schubert is often said to be one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. He wrote over 600 Lieder for solo voice and piano, one of them being a little work called Die Forelle, known as The Trout in English. Composed in 1817, Die Forelle is one of Schubert's most popular lieder.
Die Forelle was originally a poem by one Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart written over thirty years before Schubert set it to music, in 1783. The poem tells of an observer watching a trout swimming in a brook before being caught by a fisherman, who cheats by stirring up the water so the trout can't see the hook. The poem also includes a stanza that was removed from the lied, revealing itself as a moral piece warning young women to guard themselves against young men. Because all young men are dirty perverts, right?
When it was set to music, the piano creates the effect of rippling water. The lied then becomes dark as the fisherman stirs up the water. The removal of the moral stanza allows the lied to be sung by both sexes.
Schubert would later base a piece of chamber music on the lied, the Trout Quintet in A Major. The lied, however, was originally written in D-flat major.
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