That there is a quasi-religious side to this worship of the Ewig-Weibliche in Schubert's work, and that this is consistently translated into musical terms, is made clear by certain turns of phrase which look both backwards and forwards in the composer's song output. In Verse 1 the line 'in meine Blicken flimmt' is astonishingly prophetic of the music for 'aus diesem Felsen starr und wild' (and similarly in later verses) from the famous Ave Maria – Ellens dritter Gesang (Volume 13). This song was composed nine years later, but there is also something that echoes from two years earlier: compare the line in Verse 2 'Leyer erklang aus Paradieses Fernen' with how Schubert set 'Abendlüftchen im zarten Laube flüstern' in Matthisson's Adelaide (Volume 12). There is a similar contour to the melodic shape and in both cases the imagery is of rustling and distant sounds.
If Laura am Clavier points back to the age of Mozart, this song points forward to the bel canto art of Bellini. If it is true that the latter song displeased Salieri, surely he would have nothing to complain about Die Entzückung an Laura, for there is in this music a languid sensuousness which is Italianate to the core. The harmony changes no more than is absolutely necessary and somehow this is to the song's advantage, because the melody itself is so heartfelt and utterly Schubertian in its lyrical simplicity. For once Schubert is not tempted to search beneath the surface of a Schiller poem to find a meaning. The fact that he did not feel quite happy about this solution is evident from his décision to compose another, utterly different, version in 1817.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993
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