, composed nine in 1821 and subsequently revised over the next several years, is darkly serious in B minor (a key Beethoven called the ‘schwarze Tonart’, the ‘black key’, for its traditional bleak mournfulness), and was one of the three songs presented to Agnes Rauch (1804–1881), the eldest daughter of the sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch, who later was the godfather of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s son Sebastian, born in 1830. The manuscript came to light only in 2007, when it was sold at auction by Sotheby’s to the Berlin State Library, Preußischer Kulturbesitz. There are two other earlier manuscripts for this song, but this is the Rauch version of circa 1825, which may constitute Mendelssohn’s final thoughts on this song to an anonymous text. Laments by abandoned women are commonplace in poetic tradition, but abandoned men are another matter; how precocious it was of Mendelssohn to imagine such grief at so young an age. The singer’s first phrase, repeated several times thereafter, evokes in stylized manner tears flowing down the lovelorn man’s face.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2009