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Conor Biggs' Schubertreise diary, day three

Château d'Awans, near Jodoigne

Yesterday was devoted to memorizing the text of Leichenfantasie, a formidable hurdle comprising nine chunky verses. Schiller's verse is sometimes dense and difficult to memorize. This, Schubert's third song, is considerably less accomplished than his first, Hagars Klage, leading me to wonder if the dates of composition are not erroneous.

Leichenfantasie is also uncomfortably high — a feature of the early songs being the unusual demands they place on the singer's range. Transposition over and above that proposed by the Bärenreiter edition is called for, so there's nothing for it but to laboriously key in the whole song on Finale — all 400 plus bars!

This morning saw us rehearsing for Schubertreise XIV on Claude Kelecom's 1810 Walther fortepiano in Noduwez, near Jodoigne. What a joy to hear a piano whose sound would have been recognized by Schubert!

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