Winterreise as inspiration
Between 1989 and 1998 Constant made a series of watercolors and oil paintings called Die Winterreise. The paintings depict a solitary figure wandering through a desolate winter landscape. As the title of the series suggests, Constant was inspired by Franz Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey), a song cycle for voice and piano set to 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller. At the beginning of Schubert’s Winterreise, the “Wanderer” learns that his lover has fallen for another man. He disappears in the dead of night, leaving behind a city that once held much promise for him. His melancholy journey through the freezing cold (even his tears turn to ice) leads him to a cemetery where he desperately seeks eternal shelter, but “all the rooms” are occupied. As he continues into a village, he meets Death on the street disguised as an old hurdy-gurdy. Der Wanderer asks, “Shall I go with you? Will you play your hurdy-gurdy to accompany my songs?”
Schubert composed Winterreise in 1827, a year before his untimely death at the age of 31. The theme of the musical piece is often interpreted as man’s search for himself, although others argue that the work is also steeped in socio-political criticism. Constant owned an extensive selection of Schubert’s music, but Winterreise was a favorite. He could sing the songs by heart and when he passed away in 2005, Maarten Koningsberger accompanied by pianist Kelvin Grout sang songs from Winterreise at his funeral ceremony at Zorgvlied. Dani will make an arrangement of the songs for two cimbaloms.
The selection from Die Winterreise:
1. Gute Nacht
15. Die Krähe
20. Der Wegweiser
24. Der Leiermann