According to Josef von Spaun, Salieri did not think highly of German as a language for musical setting, despite the fact, again according to Spaun, that he had met both Goethe and Schiller personally (Goethe was certainly an admirer of Salieri’s operas). He composed some Singspiele in German, of course, and he seems to have taken up the poetry of Schiller late in life, even to the extent of recommending some of the poems to be set as exercises by his pupil Schubert. The Matthisson setting recorded here was published as a supplement to the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode
in September 1825; the composer himself had died in May of that year. It was a work that Salieri had held back from publication in his lifetime; whether it was written before or after Schubert’s Andenken
(a work that may well have been discussed in a lesson) we shall never know. The cast of the vocal line, and the use of the soprano clef, shows old-fashioned musical manners; perhaps this music was written much earlier (possibly contemporary with Beethoven’s Andenken
, published 1810).
comparative Schubert listening:
Andenken D99. April 1814
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006