Der Schiffer

Franz Schubert

Der Schiffer in Eb major

D536, Op. 21/2 • “Im Winde, im Sturme befahr ich den Fluss”

About this work

Der Schiffer (The Boatman, D. 536) of 1817 is a song by Franz Schubert to a text by his close friend Johann Mayrhofer. That seemingly obvious statement seems misleading when one hearing the song, a powerfully confident and heroically virile setting that sounds nothing like the work of the profoundly pessimistic Mayrhofer and the deeply sensitive Schubert. And yet the poem's dashing images and brawny rhythms are matched by the music's muscular melody and athletic accompaniment. A fast four-verse song that sails over the waves of harmonic adversity with strong stokes, Der Schiffer projects an idealized image of poet and composer that is at odds with the real personalities but still convincing in the right performance.