Mignons Lied „Kennst du das Land?“ is the first of Sechs Deutsche Lieder, Op 37, composed in 1815. Goethe, in one of his more censorious moods, criticized this setting as being a ‘complete misunderstanding’ because it was not strophic. In fact, this is a cleverly modified strophic song that attempts to give the impression of being strophic without actually being so—a sleight of hand well known to Schubert. The most unusual thing about this setting, and also the most inventive, is the constantly changing metre as 3/2 shifts to 3/4 and then to 2/4—an attempt to render Mignon’s lines in natural speech rhythms.
comparative Schubert listening:
Mignons Gesang „Kennst du das Land?“ D321. 23 October 1815
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
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