This poem glows with Novalis’s belief in an afterlife which is present with us all, and there for the taking, but it has not exactly set Schubert’s mind on fire in the way that we might have wished. And it is hard to tell the difference between a shortfall of inspiration and a self-imposed stylistic rigour. Schubert’s own muse has taken a back seat to the muse of Novalis and suppressed itself in favour of the music inherent in the poet’s language, there is no doubt that the native German listener, able to understand the powerful text as it is sung, is immeasurably better off than the English music lover.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1997
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