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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDJ33023
Recording details: September 1994
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: May 1995
Total duration: 1 minutes 36 seconds

'When the Hyperion Schubert Edition is finally completed I am certain that this wondrous offering will rank among its most precious jewels … Prégardien is a prince among tenors' (Gramophone)

'Prégardien is an artist of the first rank' (Fanfare, USA)

Die frühe Liebe, D430
First line:
Schon im bunten Knabenkleide
May 1816; first published in 1895 in the Gesamtausgabe
author of text

There is something fragrantly delightful about the Hölty settings of 1816 of which this is a fine example. Perhaps Schubert did return to this poet in 1816 (as John Reed suggests) because of Spaun's plan to publish songs grouped by their authors, but there is nothing forced or dutiful about these settings. Reed's contention that they lack the freshness and spontaneity of those from 1815 seems unfair. Certainly the 1816 songs are less well known and among their number there is nothing like the famous An den Mond. Nor are there experimental songs like An die Apfelbäume or the frankly over-the-top Die Nonne. By 1816 Schubert seems to have decided what he likes about this poet. There are some melancholy settings (not at all inferior to anything in 1815 e.g. Klage an den Mond and An den Mond II) but, by and large, Schubert was drawn to Hölty's pictures of youth and domesticity, happiness and hard work which idealise the German way of life. Freshness and spontaneity are exactly what these songs have in abundant quantity.

This little song bubbles with childlike high spirits as if the composer is laughing at one of his younger brothers, or indeed himself. The piano writing in a bustling 2/4 is laid out like the sort of Clementi sonatina which a boy of this age would be playing in his piano lessons; the hands are close together without leaps and jumps but there is a roguish complicity between the various strands of melody. In the manner of a Haydn song the voice part doubles the piano's right hand except at the final cadence where it is freed for a final flourish. The song sounds likes an apology for over-amative behaviour ('I can't help it - I was always like this since I was a boy') and Schubert takes great delight in this little Don Juan in the bud. The key of the song is E major, the quintessential Hölty tonality for scenes in field or garden which are flooded with sunlight from a happier, less complicated time. In that sense the song is nostalgic like many of this poet's settings.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995

Other albums featuring this work
'Schubert: The Complete Songs' (CDS44201/40)
Schubert: The Complete Songs
MP3 £130.00FLAC £130.00ALAC £130.00Buy by post £150.00 CDS44201/40  40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
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