The Goethe scholar Eduard von Hellen contends that the inspiration of the poem was Magdalena Riggi, an Italian girl (like Mignon) who also felt hemmed in by her life and who longed for her freedom. If this is true it makes better sense that a woman should sing An Mignon (particularly in a higher, brighter key) than a man. The melodic simplicity of the song (immediately reminiscent of Am Feierabend from Die schöne Müllerin) is enriched by some astonishing modulations. Particularly noteworthy is the Neapolitan change of harmony between the repetition of 'immer Morgens wieder auf' which prophesies 'jeder Strom wird's Meer gewinnen' in Irrlicht from Winterreise.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995
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