What’s classical music on Divorce Attorney Shin, E08 telling story of the boy, his father and the Erl-King?

There is a piece of classical music that is played on Divorce Attorney Shin, Episode 8 from the beginning of the episode when Attorney Shin is interviewed about playing it on piano right through to almost the end of it, when the piece appears again as Shin is driving to Haenam to see his client.

That classical music is what is called a ‘Lied’, a piece of classical music that has had a poem used as its lyrics, and was composed by a famous Austrian composer.

The piece is called “Erlkönig”, Opus 1, D 328 by Franz Schubert. It was composed in 1815, with German poet Goethe’s ‘Erlkönig” poem used as the lyrics.

Nowadays, ‘Erlkönig’ is considered a remarkable piece of work. Especially as Franz Schubert was still just 18-years-old when he composed it.

As Attorney Shin explains to his client towards the end of Divorce Attorney Shin, Episode 8, the classical piece also tells an interesting story.


What is the story of Erlkönig?

The just over 4-minute piece has the singer taking all three parts of the classical ballad — a boy, his father, and the Erl-King (Der Erlkönig).

It tells the story of a boy riding home on horseback held firmly in the arms of his father. As they ride, the boy keeps telling his father the supernatural Erl-King is taunting him, asking him to leave with him so they can “play wonderful games together”.

The father, however, does not believe his son and tells him is just imagining the Erl-King.

Then the boy cries out “Father, the Erl-King has seized me”, and so the father begins to ride faster so he can get home as quickly as possible in case the boy is sick. But when he arrives, it is only to discover the boy already dead in his arms.

As Attorney Shin explains, the story is about a father trying to protect his boy from the Erl-King. He then asks his client “Are you the father or the Erl-King?”

After being asked by his client which one he himself believes he is, Shin responds “I think you are the son”.

Listen to “Erlkönig”, Opus 1, D 328 by Franz Schubert, as heard on Divorce Attorney Shin, Episode 8 on the album, and in the video below.

In this case, the classical ballad is performed by the Swedish baritone singer Olle Persson, who is accompanied by fellow Swede Mats Jansson on piano.

You will find more information about other music and songs on the superb Divorce Attorney Shin here on Leo Sigh.

The utterly wonderful Divorce Attorney Shin is now streaming on Netflix.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.