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Like Kalchberg, Alois Zettler was a contemporary of Schubert’s whose life was spent in the service of the Austrian civil service. He was born to poor parents in Bohemia but by dint of his hard work achieved distinction in Vienna and eventually achieved high office in the Imperial Censor’s office where the poet Mayrhofer also worked. His works were published in various Viennese periodicals between 1811 and 1816 and Schubert discovered this poem in the same 1814 edition of the almanac Selam in which he also found the poems of Die Sternenwelten and Die Macht der Liebe. In the absence of other settings by the composer, Zettler’s greatest claim to fame is that he died only twelve days before Schubert in November 1828, and of the same complaint (‘Nervenfieber’) as that which appears on the composer’s death certificate. A medical historian would be tempted to ask if it could have been the same disease (part of an epidemic perhaps) which carried off both poet and composer within days of each other. The poet Christoph Kuffner (whom Schubert also set only once – the song Glaube, Hoffnung und Liebe D955) published a volume of Zettler’s verse in 1836.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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