Neidhart von Reuental (possibly born
c. 1190 died after 1236 or 1237) (Middle High German: Nīthart von
Riuwental; also Her Nīthart) was one of the most famous German
minnesingers. He was probably active in Bavaria and then is known to
have been a singer at the court of Friedrich II in Vienna. As a
minnesinger he was most active from 1210 to at least 1236.
Neidhart is very well known for being rather sarcastic and comical.
More melodies survive by him than from any other minnesinger.
His name is most likely a pseudonym, for its meaning is more or less
Grim-Heart of Lament-Valley. The second part of his name, however,
was "reconstructed" by philologists of the 19th century, who took
literally the role of the "speaker," who calls himself "von Reuental"
in his poems, and thus combined it with the author's name, which was
simply "Nīthart". All manuscript sources until the 15th century
refer to him only as "Nithart". His songs often stand in harsh
contrast to the normal minnesinger topic, courtly or romantic love.
This style has been referred to as Höfische Dorfpoesie (courtly
village-poetry) by philologist Karl Lachmann and was often imitated
by composers called pseudo-Neidharts.
Probably his best-known song is "Meienzīt" ("May Time") in which
Neidhart starts by describing a peaceful spring scenario but quickly
comes to insulting his foes (and several friends and allies who
Neidhart von Reuenthal - Ich gesach die heide
Monodic song of Neidhart von Reuenthal performed by Augsburg Early
(Source: Staatsbibl. Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, Ms. Germ.
Variations on Neidhardt von
Reuenthal's "Maienzeit / Maytime" for cello solo. Georg
Reuental: So blossen wir den anger nie gesahen