Conceived in the musical language of the nineteenth-century, Hebbel Lieder comprises John Salmon's four songs for baritone and piano based on Friedrich Hebbel's poems Nachtlied, Herbstbild, Erleuchtung, and Abendgefühl. Poet and dramatist Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863) was one of the shining lights of Romanticism and an inspiration to several of the era's most famous composers, including Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms who also wrote songs on two of the Hebbel poems in this set.
While the harmonies and textures of Salmon's Hebbel Lieder reflect traits of Schumann and Brahms, there are also links to later Romantics such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Nachtlied (Night Song) is a gentle lullaby. Herbstbild (Picture of Autumn) depicts a spectacular autumn day, full of leaves and trees. Erleuchtung (Enlightenment) is a deeply existential reflection. Abendgefühl (Evening Feeling) begins with the image of dusk but evolves to a meditation on the human condition. These songs can be performed either individually or as a coherent set whose total performance time is just approximately ten minutes.