Friedrich von Schiller’s (1759–1805) words for Des Mädchens Klage
come from Act 3 of Die Piccolomini
, the second play in Schiller’s trilogy of dramas about Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, the Bohemian generalissimo of the Habsburg armies during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), a terrifying creature who was wont to kill all the dogs and cats upon entering a town. Max, the son of Wallenstein’s lieutenant Octavio Piccolomini, and Wallenstein’s daughter Thekla fall in love, despite the enmity between their families; parted from Max, Thekla sings this famous lament. Schubert wrestled with it three times (D6, D191 and D389, the second setting being the most famous), but Mendelssohn engaged the words only once; his harmonically rich song was published posthumously as The Maiden’s Lament
in London in 1866.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010