A song cycle originally written in 1840 by German composer Robert Schumann for piano and voice, Gene Back’s version of Dichterliebe reinterprets the piece through the lens of modern-day American folk/rock. Although Schumann’s Dichterliebe has served as one of the most studied pieces of the 19th century, it is largely unknown outside the classical music world. The purpose of this reinterpretation is to expose the piece’s striking musical and thematic relevance to today’s singer-songwriting genre, and revive forgotten songwriting traditions.
In this new rendition, modern-day American English lyrics replace the original Romantic-era German lyrics without compromising the underlying meaning of the text. Much effort was taken to ensure that the new text kept the exact same syllabic and rhyming structures of the original, allowing the lyrical melody to remain the same as well.
Electric guitar replaces the original piano accompaniment, while other added elements (drums, bass, violin, trombone, celeste, etc.) further elaborate the folk/rock approach. In this album, with the exception of trombone, all of the instruments and vocals are performed by Back and recorded at his studio in Brooklyn.