Prometheus (art song)

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"Prometheus" (D. 674) is an intensely dramatic art song composed by Franz Schubert in October 1819 to a poem of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


The lied was written for bass voice in the key of B major, but the key moves repeatedly through various major to minor tonalities, ending in C major.[1] In Goethe's dramatic declamation by Prometheus, which would be set again, with very different effect, by Hugo Wolf,[2] "with his alternations of ariosos and recitatives, Schubert created a miniature oratorio", observes Edward F. Kravitt.[3]

Among many other lieder by Schubert, Max Reger also created an orchestration for "Prometheus".[4]


For the text, see Prometheus (Goethe)


Voice and piano
Schubert: Goethe-Lieder, Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone), Charles Spencer (de) (piano), RCA Records, 1995
Schubert: Goethe-Lieder, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Jörg Demus (piano), Deutsche Grammophon, 1999
Schubert: Goethe-Lieder, Vol. 1, Ulf Bästlein (de) (bass-baritone), Stefan Laux (piano), Naxos Records, 2000
Voice and orchestra (Max Reger)
Schubert arranged by Reger: Songs, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Dennis Russell Davies (conductor), Dietrich Henschel (baritone), MD&G Records, 1998
Schubert arr. Reger: Orchestral Songs, Klaus Mertens (baritone), Camilla Nylund (soprano), NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Werner Andreas Albert (conductor), cpo Records, 1998
Schubert: Lieder With Orchestra, Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone), Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Claudio Abbado (conductor), Deutsche Grammophon, 2003


  1. ^ Leonard, James. Prometheus ("Bedecke deinen Himmel"), song for voice & piano, D. 674 at AllMusic (Analysis)
  2. ^ Wolf considered Schubert's "Ganymed" and "Prometheus" unsatisfactory, in part because "a truly Goethean spirit" could only be fulfilled in the "post-Wagnerian era", according to a Wolf letter to Emil Kaufmann, noted in Scott Messing, Schubert in the European Imagination: Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 2007, p. 192, note 57.
  3. ^ Kravitt, Edward F., The Lied: Mirror of Late Romanticism, p. 65. Yale University Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0-300-06365-3
  4. ^ Schubert arr. Reger: Orchestral Songs at AllMusic

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