Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German poet, playwright, and novelist
1749 –Goethe was born on August 28 in Frankfurt am Main into a prosperous family 1765 - Goethe was only 16 years old when he went to Leipzig to study law at the university, following his father’s wishes. Soon he realized he was more interested in literature and writing than law, but he finished his degree in 1771 in Strasbourg (now, France).
1773 - Goethe provided the Sturm und Drang movement with its first major drama, Götzvon Berlichingen (a story of a 16th century robber baron, representing Goethe's youthful protest against the established order and his desire for intellectual freedom) 1774 – He produced the novel, Die Leiden des jungenWerthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther), which brought him worldwide fame (a story of a young man driven to suicide by an unhappy love affair)
1775 - Duke Karl August became Goethe’s patron and invited him to Weimar. Here, he spent most of his adult life, helping establish Weimar as a literary and intellectual centre. 1782 – He was ennobled (adding the von to his name)
Italy • 1786 - Goethe made his first trip to Italy, which was very influential to his future work and his philosophical view of the world. • Here he met ChristianeVulpius, the woman who would become his mistress, and many years later (in 1806) his wife. • Together, they had one son, Julius August Walter von Goethe.
Schiller From 1794 Friedrich Schiller became his most important and influential friend, and together they helped begin the Weimar Classicism movement.
Faust The writing of his chief masterpiece, the drama Faust (Part One, 1808; Part Two, 1832), extended over practically the whole of Goethe's literary life, a period of 57 years. Faust focuses on the search for the meaning of existence and of the soul. In the story, Faust is condemned to remain unsatisfied by life after selling his soul to the devil (Mephistopheles)
In addition to writing, Goethe painted, worked on anatomy and botany, created a theory of colors, and directed a theater for 26 years. • Goethe died on March 22, 1832 in Weimar
Erlkönig A Poem by Goethe
The poem has been used as text for numerous “Lieder” (songs). • The most famous being that of Franz Schubert, Opus 1 (D. 328) – 1821 – set for solo voice and piano • Schubert was born in Vienna in 1797 • He set many of Goethe’s text to music, with “DerErlkönig” being the most famous.
The four characters — narrator, father, son, and the Elfking — are all sung by one vocalist. Schubert has placed each character in a different vocal range (low to high) • The narrator lies in the middle range • The father lies in the low range • The son lies in a high range, representing the fright of the child. • The Elfking lies in a medium range, and is typically sung pianissimo, portraying a sneaky persuasiveness. • Erlkönig starts with the piano mimicking the horse's galloping; this motive reoccurs throughout the piece. Each of the son's pleas grow louder and higher pitched, than the previous ones. Near the very end of the piece the music slows down and the piano stops before the final, "In seinenArmen das Kind war tot." The piece then ends with two dramatic chords.