is a setting of a famous poem by Marianne von Willemer (née Jung); adopted by a Frankfurt banker, she became his third wife in 1814. The couple visited Goethe in Wiesbaden; the great poet, immediately drawn to Marianne, visited them later in 1814, and again in August and September 1815. Although Goethe and Marianne never saw each other again after that, they corresponded until Goethe’s death, and her poems as ‘Suleika’ to his ‘Hatem’ were included in the great poet’s West-östlicher Divan
of 1819, inspired by the poetry of the great fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz of Shiraz, as if Goethe himself had written them. The truth was not revealed until a few years before Marianne’s death in 1860; Mendelssohn would have thought that this was a poem by the world-famous genius, not by one of Goethe’s most gifted Muses. This undated setting is utterly different from the published setting Op 34 No 4, a fleet creation driven by love’s joyous energies. Here, the song is ushered in by a brief, rising, swelling figure in the piano, beautifully evocative both of the wind’s motion and of passion on the increase.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010