Schubert – Der Tod und das Mädchen

A girl lies in bed, stricken with fever. She is close to death. In a fever induced dream Death comes to beckon her. He is promising soft sleep in his arms. The girl refuses to go, and send him away. The song by Matthias Claudius was put to music in 1817 by Schubert. Some years later he added the melody of the song to the second part of his fourteenth string quartet.

This is maybe the most famous string quartets in existence. And rightly so. Not only the second part with the song is worth a listen, the other parts represent the height of Schubert’s abilities. It used extensively as background music for films and tv, so chances are you will recognise it.

Extra poignant about this work is that it was written by a composer that knew he was in a bad state: he was dying and out of money. Schubert died soon after, and the work was not published until three years after his death.

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