The stormy Reiselied
of 1831 is on a text earlier set as Nachtreise
in the Neun Wanderlieder von Uhland
Op 34 of 1818 by Conradin Kreutzer, a song cycle praised by no less than Schubert. The Mendelssohn scholar R Larry Todd has suggested that both Die Liebende schreibt
(published posthumously as Op 86 No 3) and this song were composed as the result of Mendelssohn’s separation from the pianist and composer Delphine von Schauroth (1814–1887)—the famous Rondo capriccioso
was written for her. King Ludwig I of Bavaria attempted to play matchmaker between the pair in the autumn of 1831, but a flustered Felix backed off, and Delphine, who had studied piano in Paris with Friedrich Kalkbrenner, would marry a clergyman named Edwin Hill Handley in 1833. Only the initial thirty-two bars, which constitute the setting of the poet’s first verse, survive in the autograph; for Uhland’s second and third verses, Eugene Asti has repeated Mendelssohn’s music for verse 1 and added his own cadential chords in the closing two bars to finish the song.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2009