Die Forelle, The Trout, by Schubert, is one of my favourite German Lieder. The poem, by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, is a tragic little tale of a wanderer who is captivated by a beautiful trout swimming in a clear brook. To the viewer’s horror, a cold-blooded fisherman comes along, muddies the water by stirring it up and then catches the fish with his rod. The viewer looks into the eyes of the betrayed fish and his blood boils.
The piano part is, I am told, fiendishly difficult to play, as Schubert captures the idea of the darting fish and the tumbling brook in fast-moving sextuplets and quavers. The vocal line calls for considerable vocal agility.
This recording by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau accompanied by Gerald Moore perfectly captures the lightness and brilliance of Schubert’s music, and the visuals are wonderful too: