Bülow were part of Liszt’s inner circle and each undoubtedly became acquainted with the other’s genius during those years.
In 1854 Pohl moved to Weimar, where he became an editor at the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. He wrote invective-laden articles under the pseudonym “Hoplit” (from the Greek term hoplite, the foot-soldier of ancient Greece) in support of Liszt and Wagner, and critical of music of the more conservative Romantic composers.
His harmonic language, while not approaching the extreme chromaticism of Wagner or Liszt, is nevertheless innovative. One of the most notable feature of these works, however, is Bülow’s use of mixed meters in “Der Wanderziel.”
Pohl’s texts typify the Romantic aesthetic: the Artist as outsider; a preoccupation with nature; intensely self-conscious; a tendency towards melancholy; a fascination with and a romanticized view of death—all imbued with deeply felt (occasionally maudlin) emotional expression. Attuned to Pohl’s textual accents and use of heightened language, Bülow interchanges duple and triple meters to great effect at a time when composers were conservative in nature.
Although hardly remembered as a composer, Bülow wrote many demanding piano pieces. These five choral pieces are unknown, however, even though they are excellent examples of the High Romantic style. Bülow set Pohl’s poems in 1861/2 while he was living and teaching in Berlin. Initially he set only the two, as the manuscript title page indicates; the remaining three poems were set the next year; the set of five were later published by C.F. Kahnt of Leipzig in 1867.heir use of meter even as they were stretching tonality to its limits.