Erlkönig (The Erl-King). Ballad by Goethe, the Erl-King being a King of all the spirits who appears to a child and entices him to death. Poem comes from Goethe's ballad-opera Die Fischerin (1782) and first mus. setting was an 8-bar melody written by Corona Schröter, actress who played the fisherwoman at the f.p. It was then set by Reichardt, Klein, and Zelter, but the best-known settings (for v. and pf.) are those by Schubert (D328), 1815, and Loewe, 1818. Sketches of an abandoned Beethoven setting exist. Special importance of Schubert's setting is the difficult and vivid acc., which revolutionized the art of acc. for composers and pianists.
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