F. Liszt – “Ständchen” Piano Transcriptions After Schubert – Khatia Buniatishvili (with sheet music in our Library)
“Ständchen” (known in English by its first line “Hark, hark, the lark” or “Serenade”), D 889, is a lied for solo voice and piano by Franz Schubert, composed in July 1826 in the then village of Währing. It is a setting of the “Song” in act 2, scene 3 of Shakespeare‘s Cymbeline. The song was first published by Anton Diabelli in 1830, two years after the composer’s death. The song in its original form is relatively short, and two further verses by Friedrich Reil were added to Diabelli’s second edition of 1832.
Although the German translation which Schubert used has been attributed to August Wilhelm Schlegel (apparently on the basis of various editions of Cymbeline bearing his name published in Vienna in 1825 and 1826), the text is not exactly the same as the one which Schubert set: and this particular adaptation of Shakespeare had already been published as early as 1810 as the work of Abraham Voß, and again – under the joint names of A. W. Schlegel and Johann Joachim Eschenburg – in a collected Shakespeare edition of 1811.
The German word Ständchen is unspecific about the time of the homage. As others have pointed out, and as Furness in his ‘Variorum Edition’ of Cymbeline makes abundantly clear, “This present song is the supreme crown of all aubades…” The Schirmer edition of Liszt’s transcription for solo piano clarifies the context with the title of Morgenständchen (morning serenade), and the German title of Schubert’s song would be more accurately rendered in English as Aubade.
“Ständchen” has been arranged for various instrumental combinations, including Franz Liszt‘s transcription for solo piano, published by Diabelli in 1838 as no. 9, “Ständchen von Shakespeare”, of his 12 Lieder von Franz Schubert, S.558.