Karoline Luise Karsch von Klenke


Karoline Luise Karsch von Klenke

1750 - 1802

Karoline von Klenke was the daughter of Anna Luise Karsch (the daughter of an innkeeper who received no formal education. Her life was marked by poverty and two abusive marriages, but she showed an early literary talent and her natural gifts as a poet stunned her contemporaries).

Karoline herself also became a respected poet and dramatist. Her poem Heimliches Lieben became the subject of a mystery concerning its authorship, which was cleared up by Faust Pachler, Marie’s son, who was a boy aged eight when Schubert visited his family in Graz. It was for the young Faust that the composer has written the piano duet Kindermarsch in the autumn of 1827. In a letter to Konstantin von Wurzbach written in the 1870s, Pachler, then in his sixties, described his search for this song’s poet:
"In the catalogue of Schubert’s works, apart from the one compiled by G Nottebohm, who was enlightened by me, the poem of the composition Heimliches Lieben is listed as being by the Graz poet K G von Leitner. But it has for its authoress the well-known daughter of Karschin, Frau von Klenke, and starts ‘Myrtill, wenn deine Lippen mich berühren’ and has the title An Myrtill. I myself have seen a song composed to this latter, original, text among the estate of the Court actor, Heinrich Anschütz. My mother’s teacher, Professor Julius Schneller, sent it to her, with the title and the opening altered, together with some others which he had particularly liked, and he either forgot to name the authoress or did not know himself who the words were by. My mother thought it so very well suited to composition that she sent it, with many others, to Schubert. I first discovered the original title and opening through a sheet of music offered me for sale (it too was from Anschütz’s estate); and from some biographical notes in Deutschlands Dichterinnen, an album of poetry, I found the name of the poet or rather the poetess."

It seems that without realising it Schubert had composed a song to a text by Karoline Klenke, daughter of the ‘Naturdichterin’ Anna Luise Karschin (1722-1791) and mother of Helmina von Chézy. The text for Heimliches Lieben seems to have been one of Marie Pachler’s particular favourites. In placing the song at the beginning of the collection of songs dedicated to her the composer acknowledges this as her lied, composed under her roof and at her suggestion. The memoirs of Leitner’s mentor, the history and philosophy professor Julius Schneller (1840) imply, very discreetly, that the poem might have had a shared secret significance for him and Marie. (Perhaps it was Schneller who first substituted ‘O du’ for Klenke’s original ‘Myrtill’.) One always had a suspicion that the companionship of the worthy brewer Karl Pachler might have been insufficiently stimulating for such a gifted musician and artist, but the tenor of the poem makes clear that whatever might have passed between Julius Schneller and Marie Pachler, respectability was maintained by a veil of discretion.

Taken from hyperion-records.co.uk. To view the full article, please click here.


Song List

This list is likely to be of songs that have been performed at Oxford International Song Festivals and Oxford Song events, and may not be comprehensive of this composer's compositions. This database is ever growing as a work in progress, with further songs regularly being added.

Heimliches Lieben (1827) D922 Franz Schubert

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