In 2009 Sting recorded a song called "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with the Donovan-song)
The song Sting covered was originally called "Der Leiermann", a song by Franz Schubert, which started life as a poem by Wilhelm Müller.
This poem was contained in Müller's 1824 book Gedichte aus den hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten (=Poems from the posthumous papers of a travelling horn-player), dedicated to the composer Carl Maria von Weber (godfather of Müller's son F. Max Müller), 'as a pledge of his friendship and admiration'. Weber had died in 1826.
"Der Leiermann" was poem #24 of the "Die Winterreise" part in Wilhelm Müller's book.
On the next link you can read the complete book:
"Der Leiermann" as part of "Die Winterreise" is on page 107
Müller, a poet, soldier, and Imperial Librarian at Dessau in Prussia (present-day east-central Germany), died in 1827 aged 33, and probably never heard the first setting of his poems by Schubert.
Schubert composed the "Die Winterreise" songcycle in two parts, each containing twelve songs, the first part in February 1827 and the second in October 1827. The two parts were also published separately, by Tobias Haslinger, the first on 14 January 1828, and the second (the proofs of which Schubert was still correcting days before his death on 19 November) on 30 December 1828 in a book titled: „Winterreise. Von Wilhelm Müller. In Musik gesetzt für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte von Franz Schubert. 89tes Werk“ (=Winter Journey. By Wilhelm Müller. Set to music for a singing voice accompanied by the pianoforte by Franz Schubert. 89th work) (Verlagsnummern (=Publishers number) 5101 bis 5124) (D 911 op. 89)
On 4 March 1827, Schubert had invited a group of friends to his lodgings intending to sing the first group of songs, but he was out when they arrived, and the event was postponed until later in the year, when the full performance was given.
"Der Leiermann" was most likely introduced by Schubert´s friend, the baritone singer Johann Michael Vogl, who introduced Schubert and his songs into many musical households great and small in their tours through Austria during the mid-1820s.
Schubert's last task in life was the correction of the proofs for part 2 of Winterreise, and his thoughts while correcting those of the last song, "Der Leiermann", when his last illness was only too evident, can only be imagined. However, he had heard the whole cycle performed by Vogl (which received an enthusiastic reception).
Full texts of the songs with a good translation by Celia Sgroi can be downloaded in pdf format at
The first recording I could trace, is on a Pathe-cylinder (#042).
It was recorded in France between 1897-1900 by an anonymous performer.
SEE #6 on the next LINK: http://www.charm.rhul.ac.uk/discography/search/search_advanced?operatorSel_0=and¶meterSel_0=catalogue¶meterKey_0=sc¶meterKeyTxt_0=sc&operatorSel_1=and¶meterSel_1=year¶meterTxt_1=1897
(c) Jeanne Marié de l'Isle (1906) (as "Le joueur de vielle (Das Leiermann)")
Recorded 1906 in Paris
Released on Zonophone X-83173
(c) Max Kacewiecz (1906) (as "Der Leiermann")
OtherNr: Globos 1036
The first recording I could find is a Russian version.
(c) Лев Михайлович Сибиряков (=Lev Mihaylovich Sibiryakov) (1910) (as "Шарманщикъ" ="Sharmanshchik")
Recorded February 23, 1910 at St Petersburg
Released on Concert Record "Gramophone" GC 4-22135
Listen here: http://www.russian-records.com/data/media/341/GC-4-22135.mp3
The first German version till now I found
(c) Elena Gerhardt, mezzo-soprano, Coenraad V. Bos, piano
Recorded March 9, 1927
Released on HMV D1264 (2-043066)
Listen here: http://charm.cch.kcl.ac.uk/audio/flac/D_1264_Cc_10424-2.flac
(c) Richard Tauber (1927) (as "Die Winterreise - No 24: Der Leiermann")
Contributor : Mischa Spoliansky
Recorded June 20, 1927 in Berlin
Matrix Be 5860-1
Released on Columbia 17009-D (USA)/ Decca 20566 / Nippon Columbia J 5410 / Odeon 15022 B / Odeon 196.022 / Odeon O-4913 / Parlophone AR 118 / Parlophone RO 20042 (UK)
O-4913 | richard-tauber.de
(c) George Henschel (1928) (as "Der Leiermann (The Hurdy Gurdy Man"))
Recorded March 3, 1928 in London
Matrix A 6892
Released on Columbia D1621
Listen here: charm.cch.kcl.ac.uk/redist/audio/dlw15.wav
(c) Heinrich Rehkemper (1928)
Manfred Gurlitt (Piano)
Recorded 1928 in Berlin
Released on Polydor 90019 and on Grammophon 90019
Franz Schubert - Heinrich Rehkemper With Piano Ace.* - Die Nebensonnen / Der Leiermann (Shellac) at Discogs
(c) Franz Völker 1928 (Der Leiermann)
Johannes Heidenreich, piano
Recorded June 2, 1928 in Berlin
Released on Polydor 19912 and Grammophon 19912
FRANZ VÖLKER, Tenor "Am Meer / Der Leiermann" Grammophon 1928 78rpm 12"
(c) John McCormack (1928) (as "The Hurdy Gurdy Man")
Nathaniel Shilkret (cond. orchestra)
Recorded November 28, 1928 in New York
Matrix: CVE 49213-3
Released on Victor 6928 as part the 78 RPM album "An Hour With Schubert" (Victor C-3)
Schubert Victor Musical Masterpiece 78rpm 12" Red Seal 6928 & 9308 (2 Records) | eBay
John McCormack: Alphabetical Listing
McCormack Victor Electrical Recordings
Victor matrix CVE-49213. The hurdy-gurdy man (Der Leiermann) / John McCormack - Discography of American Historical Recordings
(c) Gaston Angeli (1931)
Arpad Sandor (piano)
Recorded May 1931
Released on Ultraphon A-4013
DISMARC - Metastore - Detail view
(c) Gerhard Husch 1933 (as "Die Winterreise - 24 Der Leiermann")
Hanns Udo Müller: piano
Recorded August 3, 1933
Matrix: OD 1638-2
Released on Electrola DA 1346
Listen here: http://charm.cch.kcl.ac.uk/audio/flac/DA_1346_0D_1638-2.flac
DISMARC - Metastore - Detail view
(c) Lotte Lehmann 1941
Recorded March 19, 1941 in USA
Released on Columbia 17369-D
Listen here: http://fukkokulab.com/audio/CO30014.mp3
(c) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1955)
Recorded December 1, 1955
Matrix: ORA 7698-1
Released on Electrola DA5528
DIETRICH FISCHER-DIESKAU -BARITON- Der Leiermann/ Die Post Schellackplatte S8312 | eBay
(c) Hannes Wader (1997) (as "Der Leiermann")
Guitar: Ralf Illenberger
Bass: Eberhard Weber
Here's a version by Michael Vereno, accompanied with a real Hurdy Gurdy, which gives the song an even more melancholic tone.
(c) Sting (2009) (as "The Hurdy-Gurdy Man")
Julian Sutton: melodeon
(c) De Dijk with Amsterdam Sinfonietta (2014) (as "De Muzikant")
Dutch lyrics Huub van der Lubbe