Die Winterreise

Daniel Leduc, Wilhelm Müller

Programme notes

Die Winterreise (The Winter’s Journey) is my most ambitious electroacoustic undertaking to date. Written as a suite of miniatures, this electroacoustic music drama is made up of the 24 poems by the same name written by Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827). They are spoken here by the Montréal actor of German origin, Erwin Potitt. To Müller’s texts I have added a 25th and final miniature, Coda, which concludes my interpretation of the electroacoustic music drama that is Die Winterreise.


Die Winterreise was realized from 1995 to 1997 at the composer’s studio and in the studio of the Secteur électroacoustique of the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal.

  • Composer(s): Daniel Leduc
  • Writer(s): Wilhelm Müller
  • Year of composition: 1997
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714513764
  • Publisher(s): Yul média

Movements

Gute Nacht

The drama begins with the first poem, in which the wandering poet leaves the town where he thought he had found love. With irony and affection he writes “Good night” on his lost love’s door.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527179
  • Duration: 2:05

Die Wetterfahne

The winter wind plays with the weather vane on the roof of his loved one’s house, just as it has played with the false hearts of those living inside.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527180
  • Duration: 1:42
  • ISRC: CAD509900030

Gefrorne Tränen

The poet’s burning pain gushes out in tears that turn to ice.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527191
  • Duration: 0:38
  • ISRC: CAD509900040

Erstarrung

The forsaken lover returns to where he had been happy during the summer to search for the footprints of his lost love in the snow.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527204
  • Duration: 1:08
  • ISRC: CAD509900050

Der Lindenbaum

In the blackness of the night, as the traveler passes by a lime tree in whose shade he had often dreamed, he is troubled by a rustling that calls him to rest. He flees without turning around, gripped by an icy terror.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527215
  • Duration: 1:21
  • ISRC: CAD509900060

Wasserflut

It seems to the unhappy lover that his tears are mixing with the snow and will form, once the fine weather returns, a stream that will flow past his loved one’s house.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527226
  • Duration: 1:03
  • ISRC: CAD509900070

Auf dem Flusse

Seeing his reflection in a frozen river, the poet wonders whether its ice covers a torrent that is surging like the one in his heart.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527237
  • Duration: 2:39
  • ISRC: CAD509900080

Rückblick

In his flight, our traveler thinks of happier days. He would like to go back, but this is impossible.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527248
  • Duration: 1:59
  • ISRC: CAD509900090

Irrlicht

As a river finds the sea or sorrow its tomb, a will-o’-the -wisp entices the traveler into a deep chasm.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527259
  • Duration: 0:41
  • ISRC: CAD509900100

Rast

The poet finds shelter in a hut, but is so tired that he cannot rest. In spite of the quiet that surrounds him, his pain is great.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527260
  • Duration: 2:47
  • ISRC: CAD509900110

Frühlingstraum

The poet dreams of spring and of love. He closes his eyes so as not to lose the vision.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527271
  • Duration: 1:17
  • ISRC: CAD509900120

Einsamkeit

The traveler continues along his solitary road. He misses the tempests that had the power to stir his icy heart. He resumes his journey, even if it holds no promise of comfort.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527282
  • Duration: 0:38
  • ISRC: CAD509900130

Die Post

The sound of the post horn makes the heart leap. Even if traveler knows that no letter awaits him, hope is not yet dead.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0713818713
  • Duration: 2:35
  • ISRC: CAD509900140

Der Greise Kopf

The poet notices that his hair has turned gray, but it is only frost, not age. He shudders at the thought of how long he must continue on this long road before reaching the grave.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527293
  • Duration: 0:54
  • ISRC: CAD509900150

Die Krähe

The crow, a symbol of death, has been shadowing the traveler on his journey. But even this bird will not remain faithful until death.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527306
  • Duration: 1:01
  • ISRC: CAD509900160

Letzte Hoffnung

In the trees the poet sees a few leaves that have turned color, and he ties his fate to one of them. But the winter wind makes it fall, and his hopes fall with it.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527317
  • Duration: 1:42
  • ISRC: CAD509900170

Im Dorfe

The dogs bark at the poet as he passes, but the sleeping villagers dream of happiness. But our traveler is done with dreaming, and asks the dogs to keep him awake.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0715268566
  • Duration: 3:16
  • ISRC: CAD509900180

Der Stürmische Morgen

The storm howls, and the poet’s voice blends with it. He finally sees his own image in the savage world.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527339
  • Duration: 1:21
  • ISRC: CAD509900190

Täuschung

In a moment’s illusion, a will-o’-the-wisp fools the poet into believing that nearby there is a bright, warm house with a welcoming soul within.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0715268577
  • Duration: 1:27
  • ISRC: CAD509900200

Der Wegweiser

Standing at a crossroads our traveler reads a signpost that points to a road along which no one has ever returned. Solitude and a dread of meeting anyone drive him on to oblivion and peace.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527340
  • Duration: 1:42
  • ISRC: CAD509900210

Das Wirthaus

While passing through a cemetery the traveler finds that a tomb is calling him to his final rest. But even if he is fatally wounded his time has not yet come, and he must continue his journey, in despair.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527351
  • Duration: 3:09
  • ISRC: CAD509900220

Mut

Our traveler begins singing a joyous song in order to give himself courage, but to no avail. He is closed to his heart’s lament and, forlorn, tries to believe himself a god.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527362
  • Duration: 1:56
  • ISRC: CAD509900230

Die Nebensonnen

The traveler will soon come to the end of his journey. He has an illusion that the sky has three suns, two of which represent the eyes of his lost love. When the third disappears, death’s shadow will bring him the peace for which he has been longing.

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527373
  • Duration: 1:41
  • ISRC: CAD509900240

Der Leiermann

A hurdy-gurdy man doggedly plays his melancholy melody, ignored by everyone but our traveler. “Should I go with you? Would you play my songs on your hurdy-gurdy?”

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0714527384
  • Duration: 2:30
  • ISRC: CAD509900250

Coda

Now that all of the poems have been recited, the poet crosses, as in a film by Jean Cocteau, from the world of the living to the world of the dead by going through a mirror. He cannot be followed. The sound of the receding motorbike is another echo of Cocteau, this time of his depiction of the angels of death. (Thanks to Ned Bouhalassa for his recording of the mirror breaking.)

  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0715572181
  • Duration: 1:05
  • ISRC: CAD509900260