MUSC 436: Vocal Literature

Germany and Austria



Heinrich Albert (8 July 1604 – 6 Oct 1651). German composer and poet. Began studying music formally in 1622 in Dresden under his cousin Heinrich Schütz. His main achievement lies in his eight volumes of Arien, 170 songs, sacred and secular. This was one of the first publications of songs for solo voice with an accompaniment (although not written out) in Germany.


Songs for solo voice could not develop in the 17th and early 18th centuries because the practice of continuo was still popular.


Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759). His best music for solo voice was within his large choral and dramatic works.

Deutsche Arien: (1724-7) 9 arias for solo soprano voice, continuo and violin obbligato. HWV 202-210. Written in an operatic style.


Other German songs:  “Der Mund spricht zwar gezwungen Nein,” Soprano

                                                “Dank sei dir, Herr” 

            He also composed many songs and arias in English, Italian, and Spanish.


J. S. Bach: Composed many sacred songs for solo voice and continuo (BWV 439-507), pub. Leipzig, 1736. It has been discovered that several songs associated with Bach, both secular and sacred, were composed by other composers (“Bist du bei mir” is by G.H. Stölzel).


C. P. E. Bach: (8 March 1714 – 14 Dec 1788 ). Composer and church musician, the second surviving son of J. S. Bach and his first wife, Maria Barbara. He was the most important composer in Protestant Germany during the second half of the 18th century, and enjoyed unqualified admiration and recognition particularly as a teacher and keyboard composer. Associated with the first ‘Berlin School’ of Lied.


Oden mit Melodien (pub. Berlin, 1762) A collection of songs 20 songs.

Keyboard accompaniments play an integral component to the songs, but they are not entirely obbligato. The songs are notated on two, not three staves. The melodic phrases and harmony contribute to the emotional effect of each setting. Generally, the melodies are not folk-like. The vocal ranges are relatively large. They make use of extreme registers and the holding of high notes.

Geistliche Oden und Lieder (C.F. Gellert), (composed 1757, pub. Leipzig, 1758)

Collection of 54 sacred songs and odes by C.F. Gellert set to music immediately after publication of the texts in 1757. By 1784 it had been issued five times in all and influenced many other composers (right up to the time of Beethoven and his Gellert songs op.48). Many of the songs were included in hymnals.

Other songs and song sets:

Zwölf geistliche Oden und Lieder als ein Anhang zu Gellerts geistliche

Oden und Lieder (Leipzig, 1764)

Bachus und Venus (H.W. von Gerstenberg), in Musikalisches Vielerley

(Hamburg, 1770)

Der Wirt und die Gäste (J.W.L Gleim) (Berlin, 1766), rev. later

Neue Lieder-Melodien nebst einer Cantate (Lübeck, 1789) 21 songs.

Klagelied eines Bauren (J.M. Miller)

Psalmen mit Melodien (J.A. Cramer) (Leipzig, 1774) 42 songs.

Auf den Flügeln des Morgenrots (C.F. Cramer)

Die Trennung (J.J. Eschenburg, after P. Metastasio)

Geistliche Gesänge mit Melodien (C.C. Sturm) (Hamburg, 1780) 30 songs

Geistliche Gesänge mit Melodien, ii (Sturm) (Hamburg, 1781) 30 songs

Kommt, lasst uns seine Huld besingen (J.A. Cramer)

Die Schönste soll bei Sonnenschein

Allgütiger, gewohnt Gebet zu hören


Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Composed 47 songs.

24 German lieder (1781–4)

            Relatively simple, short and strophic, with the piano right hand largely

doubling the voice. They vary in mood and exhibit subtle rhythmic and formal construction, often brilliantly realizing implications of the text; the 1784 set includes more deeply felt items.

14 English songs (1794–5)

Contain many striking effects and are in many cases through-composed;

                        “My mother bids me bind my hair”

Many miscellaneous German lieder and part-songs


Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) His best music for solo voice was within his large choral and dramatic works. All songs are published in one volume.

            Early songs: very simple accompaniment which doubles the melody.

                        Exception: “Ridente la calma”

            Later songs, late 1770s on, are all much more operatic/dramatic and often


                        “Dans un bois solitaire” (1778)

                        “Das Veilchen” (1788)

                        “An Chloe” (1789)

                        “Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte” (1789)

                        “Abendempfindung” (1789)