Lieben und Schweigen
was created in 1840 or 1841 as a gift for a friend, the Biblical scholar Konstantin von Tischendorf, who discovered what was for a time the oldest known copy of the Septuagint in a trash heap at a monastery on Mount Sinai. His single anthology of poetry, the Maiknospen
(‘May Buds’) of 1838, is somewhat anodyne, but one sympathizes with the lover in this poem, who, like a shy scholar, never confesses his love. Mendelssohn gives him sweetly eloquent music to express what he otherwise could not.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010