daz herze mîn ist minne wunt  /  Eberhard Kummer

Ulrich von Liechtenstein

vox medii ævi GER-07-2011



I. In dem walde süeze dœne ...  [2:20]
Melodie: anonym im Klosterneuburger Osterspiel : cramer gib die farbe, um 1200
(Hungarian) symphonia

II. Wil iemen nâch êren die zît wol vertrîben ...  [7:16]
Melodie: anonymes Chanson d'amour, 12. Jh.
gothic bray harp

III. Sumervar ist nu gar ...   [3:05]
Melodie: Pseudo-Neidhart Meie, dîn liehter schîn, anonym in Berliner Neidhart-Handschrift, Mitte 15. Jh
(Hungarian) symphonia

IV. Got willekomen, herre ...   [6:20]
Melodie: Moniot d'Arras (1213 — 1239): Chanson de rencontre
gothic lap harp

V. Êren gernde ritter, lât iuch schouwen ...  [3:48]      
Melodie: anonym, iam dulcis, 10. Jh., Fassung Mantuani 1904
gothic lap harp

VI. Mîn muot der muoz stîgen immer ...  [5:36]
Melodie: Walther von der Vogelweide, „Palästinalied" aus dem „Münster'schen Fragment", Mitte 14. Jh.
(Hungarian) symphonia

VII. Ich bin her bî mînen stunden ...  [3:33]
Melodie: Pange lingua, CB 20, 10./11. Jh., aus St. Peter in Moissac, altes Französisch

VIII. Nu schouwet wie des meien zît ...  [3:43]
Melodie: Chansons des Trouveres, Pastourelle quant voi la flor, anonym, 12./13. Jh.
(Hungarian) symphonia

IX. Wizzet alle daz ich kan ...  [6:30]
Melodie: Gace Brulé (1160 — 1213): Chanson d'amour, um 1200
gothic lap harp

X. Fliuch, fliuch, trûren, von uns verre ...  [4:53]
Melodie: Conon de Bethune (1150 — 1220), Chanson d'amour, um 1200 
(Hungarian) symphonia


Ulrich von Liechtenstein (ca. 1205 — 26.1.1275) is known in the history of literature first and foremost as the author of the earliest first person novel in the German language, Frauendienst (1255), and then as a lyricist. This is partially due to the fact that his lyric works are interspersed with the spectacular late-courtly Minne epos (all about the chivalrous escapades of the first person narrator in the form of the love goddess Venus or of King Arthur) and that those then took on a minor role in a sort. This lore as it is told in Frauendienst has, on the one hand, contributed to saving all of the 58 songs and provides us with an explanation as to why Ulrich's works of lyric poetry were later also able to be entered into the famous Manesse manuscript around 1310. All of the song texts found there are in the chronology written in Frauendienst, and at the beginning of these entries there is a miniature of Ulrich as the riding Lady Venus (see the cover of the CD) inspired by Frauendienst. On the other hand, the Liechtensteiner walked into a kind of storytelling trap, for even nowadays, he is known among experts as a lyricist of the late-courtly period, with its start around 1250. In truth long before Frauendienst, Ulrich had presumably written truly refreshing, elaborately sensuous and even experimental lyric poetry. There are indications of composite texts among the epic and the lyric passages embedded in the works. Even the language-motif evidence reinforces this impression of the use of pre-fab lyric modules in the form of already existing song texts.

In order to be able to recognize where a disengagement of Ulrich's lyric poetry from his Frauendienst texts might lead chronologically, let us make the following art historical and mentality assumptions: in a time at which life in general was much shorter, yet perhaps much more emotionally intensive than it is today, it was probably vital for young, nearly grown-up aristocratic offspring to distinguish themselves quite quickly to the medieval court society. The minnesinger glorification of budding readiness to love and to serve was perfectly suited for this. So a young man with language talents enough such as Ulrich would appropriately have presented his artistic calling card as it were, possibly as early as his accolade in 1222 and would thus have been attributed to the high-courtly period, in which his great artistic idol Walther von der Vogelweide was still alive and exerting influence. It is conceivable that Ulrich found the inspiration for his art in a likely face-to-face encounter with Walther at the Court of the House of Babenberg in Vienna. This splendid center of medieval knightly culture that in the 13th Century had come to be one of the administrative hubs for the Styrian duchy, was a place Ulrich, as the offspring of a wealthy service gentry family residing in Upper Styria, certainly got to know well quite early. And it was there as is well known that almost all of the great singers of the time were constantly coming and going. Encounters with poets might very well have also taken place in Styria, for enroute to Slovenia, Carinthia and the Adriatic region, many bards passed through Styria and must have got to know the area quite well, the possibility of them having made brief, if not lasting appearances at some of the prominent courts in the Styrian duchy not to be ruled out.

Consequently, we are able to place Ulrich, chronologically at the least, in immediate proximity to the high-courtly golden age. At this time at the latest a great difference must be pointed out, or rather a great class distinction between him and his famous idol, Walther von der Vogelweide. Whereas the latter was a travelling artist, earning his keep by writing poetry and singing, the former only wrote for the pleasure of art or, as implied above, to gain attention among his peers. In contrast to the so-called poet for wages, he was financially independent from birth and at a quite early age occupied with leading political duties in the region. This is noted in 94 documents still extant that name Ulrich as a judge responsible for provincial decisions and a Styrian seneschal among others; hence he held those offices, from which the office of the Governor of Styria emerged in which form it was then held in the 15th Century by his aristocratic poet-colleague Hugo von Montfort.

From an artistic point of view, Ulrich's well-polished language in his ballads is absolutely at the peak of what was being written at the time and thus it should come as no surprise that his were considered in later years to be the prototypes for others. The Liechtensteiner had particular impact on the minnesong of his young Styrian peers, Herrand von Wildon—his son-in-law, Rudolf von Stadeck and the Suneckers. Born an entire generation after Ulrich, they wrote their courtly love songs around 1250. They probably sang both their ballads and the „oldies" of their idol Ulrich inimitably. Incidentally, like their idol Ulrich they were considered worthy of being included in the Manesse manuscript.

The German Minnesongs collected earlier refrain in general from recording any melodies and differ from those of Oswald von Wolkenstein or Hugo von Montfort written later.2 Thus it was up to the contemporary artist Eberhard Kummer to select for himself suitable melodies from different sources throughout the entire cultural region of Europe to go with the Liechtensteiner's texts chosen by me as the producer of the CD to be a representative cross section of Ulrich's artistic artistry. This practice is justified by contrafacture and by the fact the minnesong was always quite liberal with using melodies and that many of the texts were used over and over again—the main point being that the rhythm and the notes suit the structure and the basic character of the text. And this should spectacularly prove the case here: listening to the ballads with the melodies chosen by Eberhard Kummer, most of which are verified to date to the time of Ulrich, these do go wonderfully with the character of the texts. What was particularly helpful here were melodies from French-speaking regions, this being no coincidence for the Liechtensteiner himself admitted to an affinity to using French melodies as contrafacture in Frauendienst. To a certain extent Eberhard Kummer just continued doing what his colleague Ulrich von Liechtenstein had described and begun nearly 750 years ago.

The external initiating factor behind this entire CD project is the Styrian Literature Trails of the Middle Ages (http://literaturpfade.uni-graz.at). This CD shall be a welcome means of advertising for all of the showplaces of historical literature in Styria.

1   The following two supplementary anthologies are to be mentioned as additional sources of literature on Ulrich von Liechtenstein:
· Ich — Ulrich von Liechtenstein. Literatur und Politik im Mittelalter. Akten der Akademie Friesach „Stadt und Kultur im Mittelalter" Friesach (Kärnten), 2. — 6. September 1996. ed. by Franz Viktor Spechtler a. Barbara Maier. Klagenfurt 1999. (=Schriftenreihe der Akademie Friesach. 5.)
· Ulrich von Liechtenstein. Leben — Zeit — Werk — Forschung. [L. Peter Johnson zum 80. Geburtstag.] ed. by Sandra Linden und Christopher Young. Berlin/New York 2010. (=De Gruyter-Lexikon).
An overview on the regional literary historical context of Ulrich's lyrical poetry can be found at: http://www-gewi.kfunigraz.ac.at/stlitma.

2   Both have been recorded by Eberhard Kummer on CD. The works of Hugo von Montfort were recorded in their entirety for the first time ever on the double CD: fro welt, ir sint gar húpsch und schón. Die Lieder des Hugo von Montfort. [as sung by] Eberhard Kummer. Vienna 2007. (= ORF Edition Alte Musik. 3011.)

About the Songs

A brief sketch of the characteristics is given below based on the texts printed here for the 10 songs selected. The order of the numbers follows the tried and true principle of inner variance. What is meant by that is that there is a mixture of text and melody impressions according to the thematic and the mood. This allows the listener, when playing all of the songs on the CD back-to-back, to enjoy the expressive contrast presented while appreciating the harmony of the order of the ballads. A chronological order would not have been possible in the first place due to a lack of dating evidence.

To the extent that one exists, the ballads have been supplemented with the appellative title mentioned in Frauendienst and translated from Middle High German. Only to a limited extent do these appellations match the familiar generic terms of today and should not be taken quite so literally. The Arabic numerals of the ballads numbered I—X on the CD refer to the entire collection of Ulrich's lyric poetry (KLD, cf. the source citation printed below). On song numbers I, III, VI, VIII and X Eberhard Kummer is accompanied by a (Hungarian) symphonia, No. II by a gothic bray harp, Nos. IV, V and IX by a gothic lap harp and No. VII by cymbals.

Divinely light-hearted and high spirited, in communion with the natural delights of early summer our song No. I: A Kind of Dance In dem walde süeze dœne (ballad no. 4), praises the paramour of the lyrical taleteller: the one he is longing for surpasses everything, even the charms of the merry month of May! Dream and reality, singer and his desires all seem to melt into one.

Watchful and powerfully demanding is No. II (ballad 16 — Wil iemen nâch êren die zit wol vertrîben), A Song for the Journey in Frauendienst just in the sense that it is meant to uplift the knights on their journeys to the tournaments and is appropriately moralizing. Using the motif of the shield as a symbol — recurring in No. V — and a courtly allegorized secret code for knightly discipline, Ulrich manifests here his guiding theme of watchful decency with which one is to behave when faced with those to be conquered: the fiercely reluctant women, patiently showing themselves capable of suffering.

What is unique about what No. III (ballad 29 — Sumervar ist nu gar) has to offer in the guise of an unfailingly rousing dancing song — regardless of how often one listens to it — is the art of the rhyme and the coquettish joys of love and life. This ballad is carried jovially by a catchy tune, which is driven by the rhythmic ratcheting of the symphonia taken from Neidhart's domain of influence most certainly one of the crooners of the Middle Ages.

No. IV (ballad 36 — Got willekomen, herre) presents itself to us in full sensuality. Here Ulrich is almost frivolous playing with the tradition of a dawn song, by having — instead of the usual watchman — a lady's maid warn the lovers that dawn is breaking as they are still half sleeping, half carrying on their loveplay to escape the approaching day. She is even permitted to enter their secret love chambers. Despite all constraints of style hardly any other dawn song of this period is more free-spirited, more intimate and more natural!

Full of gaiety No. V (ballad 38 — Êren gernde ritter, lât inch schouwen) is soaring to ethical heights. The taleteller from the Frauendienst novel dedicates himself to this song for the Journey in order to motivate himself for the next tournament, thus justifying his disguise as King Arthur. Using this as a background, the knightly singer demands from his peers full body commitment and moral dedication, in the end plaintively and in an exemplary manner calling for more spears to throw in the service of his lady.

No. VI (ballad 57 — Min muot der muoz stîgen immer, as is No. VII, not included in Frauendienst, but even so attributed to Ulrich) sings the high song of the Minne. Nothing, not even paradise, could ever be more exhilarating as the requited love of a woman. Love, which, thanks to the spirited help of Madame Minne, pours forth from the eyes of both lovers, melting their bodies into one. In this „erotic song of triumph", the imperturbable melody line ideally blends in to the hasty mood at hand.

In No. VII (ballad 58 — Ich bin her bî mînen stunden, cf. the remarks on No. VI) the thought of true courtly love and luck resumes, vouched for by the lyrical taleteller. Symbolically ambiguous, he speaks of a painful Minne arrow: the wounds it causes, be they physical or emotional, are able to be healed by salves of all kinds, but can only truly be forgotten in the eyes of the one he loves. The frugal, yet rhythmically sensational melodic accompaniment, filled with the nuances of cymbals lends this song nothing less than a beguiling character.

Immediately prior to No. VIII (ballad 9 — Nu schouwet wie des meien zît) in Frauendienst there is talk of Rome as the destination for a pilgrimage. This suits the topic of gotes wege quite well. As is typical for pilgrimage ballads, we are given here a feeling of assurance and an wrenching feeling of saying farewell, which is once again strikingly different to the typical Ulrich themes, laced with spiteful guile. For if the general public disapproves of the singer not singing the praise of God on his journey, but extolling the virtues of his lover, then he just won't sing about her at all. Instead, and this is the surprise at the end of the song, he would say a little prayer for her, oh so prudently entrusting her to the care of Mary. Service to God and service to the Minne could not be intertwined any more sophisticatedly or provocatively!

A kind of turnaround of roles is also found in No. IX (ballad 54 — Wizzet alle daz ich kan). The lieder singer himself, not God as is customary, is here the cordis speculator, the seer of hearts, from whom no thought can be kept secret. By reinforcing the morally admonitory tenor of the text, the processional style the almost contemplatively internalizing characteristic style of the melody chosen here is fitting for the pious (with regard to women) yet almost threatening topic.

No. X (ballad 53 — Fliuch, fliuch, trûren, von uns verre) lets us come full circle with a Mixolydian, solemn, almost hymnal melody about being a woman and a lady all at once. We are told that this is how to make chivalrous men happy. Based on that notion and keeping with the Minnesong aims of the High Middle Ages, in Ulrich's song of praise for his lover — happy-go-lucky and filled with joy — once more God Himself has become the keeper of this alliance of love, ready to serve, ethically demanding: got behüete / mir ir lîp, ir scheme, ir êre. / sîst mîn fröiden lêre!

About the singer Eberhard Kummer

Dr. Eberhard Kummer, who among music experts has long been considered the epitome of an authentic, down-to-earth medieval lieder singer, has for years now been a fixed star on the Austrian and the international scene for early music. A trained opera singer and the former head of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Eberhard Kummer is primarily known for his successful, near record-breaking efforts with the Song of the Nibelungs (Nibelungenlied). He sang it numerous times not only as excerpts on various recordings, but enthralled the audience by singing this masterpiece in its entirety in consecutive evening performances.

A considerable number of recordings of works of the High Middle Ages and late Middle Ages right up to traditional folk songs characterized the breadth of his remarkable repertoire. At the end of 2007 ORF (Edition Alte Musik) published the first ever recording of the musical works of Count
Hugo von Montfort (1357 1423). Together with Michael Posch's ensemble „Unicorn", Eberhard Kummer is currently working on a recording of all 134 (!) ballads by Oswald von Wolkenstein. More information on the artist can be found at http://kummer.gzpace.net.

Song Texts and Translations

Ulrich von Liechtenstein's song texts survive in the Munich Frauendienst Manuscript (Cod. germ. 44) and in the large Heidelberg Lieder Manuscript (Cod. Pal. germ. 848), the renowned Codex Manesse. Both manuscripts underlie the historical-critical edition by Carl von Kraus (KLD), according to which the ballads for this CD were sung:

Deutsche Liederdichter des 13. Jahrhunderts. ed. by Carl von Kraus. Vol. I: Text. 2nd edition, revised by Gisela Kornrumpf. Tübingen 1978.

Explanatory notes on meter and other issues can be found in the commentary annotation:

Deutsche Liederdichter des 13. Jahrhunderts. ed. by Carl von Kraus. Vol. II: Commentary, 2nd edition, revised by Gisela Kornrumpf. Tübingen 1978.

The translations into Modern High German are by Prof. Dr. Wernfried Hofmeister (Nos. I – V) and Mag. Dr. Andrea Hofmeister (Nos. VI – X). The linguistically insightful translation of all of the song texts into English is by Mag. Terri Gattringer-Sabino, who also translated this introduction to the CD text.


This CD was recorded under the direction of Dipl.-Ing. FH Roland Radlinger at the Media Academy of the University of Graz. The recording took place on April 27 & 28, 2011 in the Cellarium of the Rein Abbey.

CD Design

Roman Klug from the Department of Graphic Arts and Layout at the University of Graz.


The realization of this CD project was made possible by the financial support of the Vice Rector for International Relations and Interdisciplinary Cooperation at the University of Graz, Prof. Dr. Roberta Maierhofer.

Wernfried Hofmeister (Graz, May 2011)
translated by Terri Gattringer-Sabino

Ulrich von Liechtenstein — dazherze min ist minne wunt
Liedtexte ins Neuhochdeutsche übersetzt von Wernfried Hofmeister und Andrea Hofmeister, ins Englische übertragen von Terri Gattringer-Sabino.

Ulrich von Liechtenstein
circa 1205-26.1.1275

daz herze mîin
ist minne wunt
Der Titel der CD ist dem Lied/Song 9 EINE SINGWEISE/A KIND OF SONG, Str.2, Vers 3 (Track VIII) entnommen.

interpretiert von
Eberhard Kummer

vox medii aevi

Koordination und Durchführung: Prof. Dr. Wernfried und Dr. Andrea Hofmeister
Medieninhaber, Herausgeber, Verleger: Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Institut für Germanistik © 2011
Übersetzung ins Neuhochdeutsche: Wernfried und Andrea Hofmeister
Übersetzung ins Englische: Terri Gattringer-Sabino
Tontechnik: Roland Radlinger, Akademie für Neue Medien
Gestaltung, Satz & Layout: Roman Klug, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz © 2011
Cover Illustration: Roman Klug nach dem Codex Manesse, Miniature of Ulrich von Liechtenstein/ Manesse Miniature of Ulrich von Liechtenstein

Kontakt und Information:
Prof. Dr. Wernfried Hofmeister Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz Institut für Germanistik
Mozartgasse 8/I
A-8010 Graz


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