Schubert’s “Erlkönig” was originally written for voice and piano, and is based upon a poem by Goethe.
Goethe’s poem tells the story of a boy riding home on horseback in his father’s arms. He is frightened when he is courted by the Erl-King, a powerful supernatural being. The boy’s father, however, cannot see or hear the creature and tells the boy that his imagination is playing tricks on him. The boy grows increasingly terrified by what he hears from the Erl-King, but his father tells him that the things he thinks he sees and hears are only the sights and sounds of nature on a dark and stormy night. When the Erl-King eventually seizes the boy, the father spurs on his horse, but when he arrives home his son is dead.
The original poem is written from the points of view of four characters – the narrator, the father, the son and the Erlking. Each phrase in the music has been marked with the current character, and the player should try to vary the style to show this.
Download includes a copy of the solo part in Bb and is also suitable for Euphonium.