Schubert’s spookily famous song, “Der Erlkönig," about the death of a child assailed by a supernatural being known as the Erlking, is a perennial favorite at Halloween concerts. The Goethe tale contains enough melodrama and dark imagery to scare any little kid off the art song literature for a lifetime.
A new video of the song arranged and performed by the Juilliard-trained piano duo of Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson takes the supernatural premise further. Much further. Filmed in a dark Steinway factory in Astoria, Queens, it features the hulking skeletons of partially assembled pianos, sweaty close-ups of the performers' faces and some creepy piano strings bent on upsetting the performance (some less-than-subtle placements for Steinway also turn up).
Think of it as Schubert for the "Twilight" or "Vampire Diaries" generation – a Gothic story turned hormonal pressure-cooker courtesy of the theatrical duo that previously gave us a sassy romp through Astor Piazzolla and a nostalgic black-and-white take on Samuel Barber.