A Serenade for Cello & Keyboard

By: Franz Schubert
For: Solo Solo Violoncello + piano
page one of A Serenade for Cello & Keyboard

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Franz Schubert
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
1 minute
Classical music
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An arrangement for Cello and Keyboard, of Schubert’s Serenade, number 4 from his Schwanengesang, D. 957, is one of his best-loved songs. The Swan Song collects Schubert’s last songs from 1828. The first seven set poems by Ludwig Rellstab.


Named by its first publisher, Tobias Haslinger, who presumably wished to present it as Schubert's last testament, Schwanengesang differs from the earlier Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise song-cycles by including settings of more than one poet. Seven texts by Ludwig Rellstab (1799–1860) are followed by six by Heinrich Heine (1797–1856); inclusion of the last song, to words by Johann Gabriel Seidl (1804–1875), may or may not reflect Schubert's wishes. In any case, all 14 songs were composed in 1828 and the collection was published in 1829, a few months after the composer's death.

Franz Lizst ater transcribed the entire set for solo piano. While staying faithful to Schubert's original, he often changes the piano texture as a way of providing a personal commentary on the text and music.

Composition and publication:

The Rellstab and Heine settings were copied in a single sitting on consecutive pages of the manuscript in Schubert's hand, and Seidl's Die Taubenpost is considered to be Schubert's last Lied — thus the basis for Haslinger's sequence, one accepted by posterity together with his conceit that a cycle exists at all. (The true cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise had sold well, motivating the publisher.) The title Schwanengesang is not of course the composer's but all the song titles are; Heine, for one, did not name his poems.

An uncertain cycle:

On 2 October 1828, after the manuscript had been written, Schubert offered the Heine set of six songs to a Leipzig publisher by the name of Probst. We can assume, then, that Schubert, at least in the beginning, intended two separate single-poet collections. Furthermore the order of Nos. 8–13, as they appear in the manuscript, differs from that of the poems as Heine published them: 10, 12, 11, 13, 9, 8, which in any case were not consecutive, as the table below shows. It was customary for Schubert to respect the poet's sequence; the manuscript may not represent Schubert's desired order. The Seidl song, "Die Taubenpost", has no connection to the rest of the cycle and was appended by Haslinger at the end to round up all of Schubert's last compositions.

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Air on the G string for Cello Duo, Tico-Tico no fubá for Violin, Cello & Piano, Salut d'Amour Loves Greeting Opus 12 for Viola & Piano, Una Furtiva Lagrima for Viola & Piano, Sāre Jahāṉ se Acchā - سارے جہاں سے اچھا (Indian Patriotic song) for String Orchestra & Percussion, Fugue on B-a-c-h for Double Bass Quintet, Lullaby for a Cellist, Keyboard & Double/E.Bass, Moonlight Serenade (Glen Miller) for Cello Quintet (Jazz for 5 Strings Series), Prelude from the Te Deum for 2 Celli & Organ, O Sole Mio for Viola & Piano, O Sole Mio for Cello & Piano, Come Back To Sorrento (Torna a Surriento) for Violin & Piano, Come Back To Sorrento (Torna a Surriento) for Viola & Piano, Mattinata for Double (Contra) Bass & Piano, Air from the Suite No. 3 in D for Cello & Keyboard, Air from the Suite No. 3 in D for Violin & Keyboard, Jazz it up:When the Saint’s Go Marching In for Cello & Piano, Jazz it up:When the Saint’s Go Marching In for Double Bass & Piano, Jazz it up:When the Saint’s Go Marching In for Double Bass & Piano, Jazz it up:When the Saint’s Go Marching In for Viola & Piano, Jasmine Flower (The) for Cello & Piano, Jasmine Flower (The) for Violin & Piano in D, M’Appari Tutt’ Amor for Viola & Piano, Allegro from the Trumpet Concerto for Cello & Keyboard, Nessun Dorma for Cello & Piano (Pro version), Overture from Suite in D (Water Music) for two Cello's & Keyboard, Lustpiel Overture for String Orchestra, O Mio Babbino Caro for Cello & Piano, Amazing Grace for Cello & Piano, Franzosisches Lied: Est-ce Mars? for String Orchestra, Air on the G String from the Suite No. 3 in D for Solo Cello & Keyboard, Stanley Trumpet Voluntary for Two Violins & Piano, Czardas for Cello & Piano, A Serenade for Cello Octet, Fanfare & Soliloquy for Cello & Piano, 8 Swinging Xmas Carols for Cello & Keyboard, The Gypsy Cellist in New Orleans, Solveigs sang for Double Bass & Keyboard, Scenes from Childhood (Kinderszenen) Opus 15, for String Orchestra, 7 jul sangs (Xmas carols) popular in Norway for String Quartet, Von fremden Landern und Menschen for String Orchestra and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for solo Cello and Keyboard

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