Franz Schubert      4 komische Ländler DV354
What is the meaning of "komische Ländler"?

From the score there is apparently no reason for calling these pieces of music "komisch" - ( There is no exactly matching English expression for "komisch" - closest to the German meaning are: "comic" or even "weird" or "funny")

The booklet of the edition by the Leipzig Quartet gives some ideas:

It is not easy to explain - or to say for certain - why Schubert termed his two-part ländler »Comic Ländler.« There are no parallels for this title from this time, and they are hardly to be considered as forming a special subgenre within the ländler. Nos. 1 and 3 in particular may strike us as being somewhat affected, which may reflect some sort of deliberate gesticulating pose, and in this way stand out from No. 4 and most of the pieces in the other ländler cycles. This feature is not to be understood in the sense of an artistically crude or falsely designed structure, and the same applies to awkward elements such as the octaves in No. 1 and the ugly third afterbeats in No. 4. Here we do not have a miniature parallel to Mozart's »Dorfmusikantensextett« (KV 522). Perhaps the title is intended as a signal that the four little movements are to be assigned a boisterous cheerfulness without a hint of irony. Schubert seems to have been concerned with this element, especially in view of the eight dances in F minor (D 355) immediately following the ländler in the manuscript.


At the end:

It was a pleasure to present a small piece of music with the touch of autenticity, nice to look at, nice to play…
But the main question: "Why did Schubert call this piece of music "Komische Ländler" ("Comic Landler"), will remain unanswered.

Written on April, 12th, 2004


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