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It might seem puzzling that Wiedersehn dates from the holiday in Steyr/Gmunden/Gastein in 1825, about the same time that Schubert wrote the Great C major Symphony and Die Allmacht, for it is as intimate as the Pyrker setting is monumental. But Schubert was always capable of working on many different-sized canvases at the same time. Another underestimated song comes to mind from the same period - the serenade of Florio from Schütz's Lacrimas - which also boasts a rather ornate vocal line over a simple strummed accompaniment. After a long period of depression over his illness, the composer was happy again at last and this is surely reflected in this music which manages to be both joyful and relaxed at the same time. The simplicity of the song is deceptive, for it is full of Schubertian mastery at every turn, above all in the shaping of the melody which has an irresistible flow. Note the deliciously cheeky jump of a seventh at 'Lächeln' in the poem's first line, and the way that even the shape of the music illustrates the text: on the printed page 'Ich komm', und über Tal und Hügel' descends by stages to the valley, and then moves up the stave again to hilly territory. The word 'Flügel' (wings) prompts the biggest interval in the piece, an octave jump in Schubert's best open-hearted manner. We are fooled into believing that the phrase 'Schweb, auf des Liedes raschem Flügel, der Gruss der Liebe zu dir hin' is to be repeated in its entirety, but at the last moment an ornamented cadence, with triplets in the vocal line which occur only at this point, brings the strophe to its inevitable end. The toe is still tapping, and we are ready for the da capo. The piano has played such a minimal part in this song in terms of Schubert's usual use of motifs and figurations that we feel we have listened to an aria rather than a Lied, but Wiedersehn is none the worse for that. Indeed, here simplicity seems the result of distillation rather than any lack of inspiration.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996
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