Schumann: The Complete Songs, Vol. 11 – Hanno Müller-Brachmann
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No 1: Sonntags am Rhein Des Sonntags in der Morgenstund’
No 2: Ständchen Komm’ in die stille Nacht!—
No 3: Nichts Schöneres Als ich zuerst dich hab’ gesehn
No 4: An den Sonnenschein O Sonnenschein, o Sonnenschein!
No 5: Dichters Genesung Und wieder hatt’ ich der Schönsten gedacht
No 6: Liebesbotschaft Wolken, die ihr nach Osten eilt
There was a side of Schumann that was lost in a subjective day-dream, but there was also a more ambitious part of his personality that planned his career to a fault: thus the lieder of 1840 were self-consciously followed by new chapters: the symphony in 1841 and chamber music in 1842. It is very clear that for all his altruism it mattered greatly to him how he was regarded by the outside world; the careful fostering of the Robert–Clara legend is evidence enough of this. If the works of the left-wing rabble-rouser Heine from Hamburg, and the Catholic Silesian Eichendorff were inspired literary choices on the part of the Saxon Schumann, a poet like Reinick seems like a literary choice selected to befit a composer who aspired to the status of a national figure, someone transcending the state boundaries that had so long served German art with such variety and distinction. Reinick’s poems represented a more central, if rather anodyne and artificial, tradition in the same way that Disneyland’s mythology and the castle of Cinderella may claim to represent the history of a United States without a history of his own. In hymning the Rhine and the Fatherland Reinick steps outside the time-honoured concept of the regional poet and provides lyrics for an emerging Germany that are much more generalized: this is not a real country (at least not as yet) but rather a concept—Germany united by cosy religiosity on the banks of the Rhine, the mighty river in itself symbolic of the nation and a source of legend. In this kind of fairy-tale land all is sweetness and light ‘mit Lust und Liedern’; lovers always become wives, and the elves play their part in revealing to the poet that what he needs above all is a pure-of-heart German girl. Of course Reinick was not the only poet to write on these topics in this way, but his Gedichte had early success partly because of the appealing and atmospheric drawings that went along with them.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2009