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One of the joys of going to Graz and being involved in the Franz Schubert and Modern Music competition (see previous post) was hearing the familiar way everyone spoke about Schubert, and some of his very famous titles pronounced with a bit of an Austrian twang. Graz is a long way from Vienna, even now we have the railways to travel on, but I was delighted to learn, via the wonderful Follow the Footsteps of Franz Schubert Through Austria pages, that FS did visit Graz once in 1827, and that Erlkönig had been premiered there five years earlier. Get that!

During my visit I had the pleasure of taking part in a seminar with KUG's musicology department, and of course discussed my new Graz-commissioned song with its kind-of-Winterreise text, On White Meadows. It happened that Olaf Scholz had just been addressing the German public about rising gas prices and what he was going to do about it, referencing the song "You'll never walk alone". One of our number mused "you can't say that about Winterreise, there you always walk alone". "But" he added "then I thought, you do also have the accompanist following you on the journey at a discreet distance". I loved this idea - rather like all those TV documentaries by explorers who go away in the wild completely alone, except for a cameraman, producer, sound engineer etc etc.

Pictured - Graz, the Schlossberg.





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