The text of 'Edward' is a translation of a grisly Scottish folk ballad from Bishop Percy’s 1765 collection Reliques of Ancient English Poetry
. Wagner greatly admired Loewe’s setting, in the ‘extreme’ key of E flat minor, and far more powerful than Schubert’s surprisingly plain, muted treatment. Loewe gives each recurring cry of ‘Oh’ a psychologically revealing new twist, and reinforces the two most dramatic moments with a chilling harmonic coup: at Edward’s confession of murder (‘Ich hab’ geschlagen meinen Vater tot’), and at the hysterical final curse, where the turbulent piano conjures up a Wagnerian orchestra.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011