Franz Schubert composed his Lied, "Der Erlkönig" (also known as "Le Roi des Aulnes"), for solo voice and piano in 1815, setting text from the Goethe poem. It was later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz.
The four characters in the song — narrator, father, son, and the Erlking — are usually all sung by a single vocalist.
Schubert placed each character largely in a different vocal range, and each has his own rhythmic nuances; in addition, most singers endeavor to use a different vocal coloration for each part.
1. The Narrator lies in the middle range and is in minor mode.
2. The Father lies in the low range and sings both in minor mode and major mode.
3. The Son lies in a high range, also in minor mode, representing the fright of the child.
4. The Erlking's vocal line undulates up and down to arpeggiated accompaniment resulting in striking contrast and is in the major mode. The Erlking lines are typically sung pianissimo.
The piece is regarded as extremely challenging to perform due to the vocal characterization required of the vocalist as well as its difficult accompaniment, involving the playing of rapidly repeated chords and octaves to create the drama and urgency in the poetry.
- 2 Fl, Ob, Eng.Hn, 2 Cl.Bb, 2 Bsn,2 G Hn, Eb Hn, 2 Tpt D, timp, Strings, Voice
- 04:00 Min.
- Page count:
- Set of Parts:
- Includes Strings count 18.104.22.168.2