• 12 min

Programme Note

In August 1911, Leopold van der Pals attended the lectures by Rudolf Steiner in Karlsruhe.

"But what was interesting was the presentation of a wonderful scene from Friedrich Lienhard’s Wieland. Today I bought this work, for this scene greatly moved me" (LvdP, journal, 28 August 1911).

A month later, Leopold van der Pals met the author and had the opportunity for further discussion of his idea to compose a work based on the book.

"Before the lecture, I made the acquaintance of the writer Friedrich Lienhard. He made a very extraordinarily sympathetic impression on me. His conversational style is lively and interesting. He spoke about his Wieland. He said that a composer had composed it as he had written it and had first told him afterwards. (My Wieland projects increasingly shrivel!) I told Lienhard that I would like to attempt to write a symphonic prelude for his Wieland. This idea appealed very much to him, and he said that if he were the composer, he absolutely would have written an overture to the work. I am very happy to have made the acquaintance of this interesting and likeable human being" (LvdP, journal, 14 October 1911). (By the way, he also chose four texts by Friedrich Lienhard for his Vier Lieder op. 22.)

Leopold van der Pals completed Wieland der Schmied at the family’s home in Russia’s Oranienbaum in July 1912. During the following months, he worked on the orchestration, which he then finished on 12 December 1912.

The premiere of the work was held at Berlin’s Blüthner Hall on 7 March 1913; the violinist and conductor Gustav Havemann led the Blüthner Orchestra. Some years later, when Leopold’s brother Nikolai van Gilse van der Pals performed the work with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the composer wrote the following program notes:

"The symphonic poem Wieland der Schmied is based on a drama of the same name by Friedrich Lienhard.

Somber brooding, sudden revolt against ‘life in mud and gold,’ yearning for the Valkyrie beheld as a vision, a feeling of powerlessness – these are the emotions pervading the soul of Wieland the forest smith.

Then, as if attracted by his yearning, the Valkyrie Alwiß comes flying down from heaven to him. A time of great happiness begins for Wieland. His love for Alwiß steadily increases in strength and lifts him out of his somber mood, purifying him and making him happy.

However, at the moment of the greatest romantic bliss, everything falls apart for Wieland. Gripped by yearning for her sunny home, Alwiß leaves him. King Nihod attacks Wieland and takes him prisoner, severing the tendons of his feet.

A brief stupor, then a horrible awakening; pain, hate, and despair create havoc in Wieland’s soul. However, memories of Alwiß (Wieland finds a feather left from her swan attire) come to him. Now he realizes what he has to do. Since Alwiß could not stay with him, he wants to rise up to her, forging wings from his grief in order to fly to her in the land of the sun. He throws gold, iron, and the swan feather into the fire and fashions his wings in wild haste. He rises into the breezes on his wings. The boundless universe spreads out before him, and he soars through the sunset – toward Alwiß, the maid of the sun."


Tobias van der Pals, 2018




  • The music of Leopold van der Pals
    • The music of Leopold van der Pals
    • Over the next few years Edition Wilhelm Hansen, part of Wise Music Group will be digging through the archives of composer Leopold van der Pals and publishing a large number of his works, bringing them back into the spotlight – some of them for the very first time.