Among the felicities of Die Täuschung is the gently rocking quaver accompaniment for the left hand; the right hand enters at the end of the first bar and forms a delicate descant throughout, flute music which dances gravely over the slightly old-fashioned Alberti bass. The first thing we hear in the accompaniment’s treble is a sighing motif of five notes which signifies perhaps the gentle sound of the pastoral pipe, or a mysterious smiling presence hovering high over the picture, as separate from the singer as the right hand is from the left. The second half of the strophe (from ‘Vor seinem Lächeln klärt sich schnell’) provides transformation music which reaches its apogee on a high A on the first syllable of ‘Paradies’. The clarity and tessitura of this radiant passage suggests purity, but its chromaticism betokens deception; it is accompanied by a delightful motif of descending thirds phrased into gentle sighs and tremulous trills. The reverse of the song’s coin of simplicity is a gently exquisite sensuality; perhaps that is also a part of the ‘deception’ at the song’s heart. There is no sign here of the unhinged parody of Viennese Gemütlichkeit that characterises the waltz song which, but for the lack of a definite article, is this song’s namesake – Täuschung from Winterreise.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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