On the evening of September 6, 1780, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe composed one of the finest short poems of the German language, carving the verses of Wandrers Nachtlied II into the wall of his cabin atop the Kickelhahn near Ilmenau.
It is said that Goethe returned to the very cabin later in life and found his words still etched in the rough-hewn wall, causing him to reflect on a poetic life well lived.
Über allen Gipfeln
In allen Wipfeln
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.
In commemoration of this lesser-known anniversary, two superb renditions of Schubert’s setting of the poem, the first as performed by Hans Hotter, and the second by Heinrich Schlusnus.