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Edone, D445

First line:
Dein süsses Bild, Edone
composer
June 1816; first published in 1837 as part of volume 28 of the Nachlass
author of text

 
Edone is the last of Schubert's thirteen Klopstock settings. The first had been Das Rosenband, and here the composer recaptures the freshness and intimacy of his early acquaintance with a poet who is capable of great lyrical tenderness when not tempted to patriotic historical epics (Hermann und Thusnelda) or religious ones (Dem Unendlichen and Die Gestirne). It is also perhaps no coincidence that Edone like Therese is a name in three syllables. This song was included in the Therese Grob songbook and stood at the head of the collection. This is surely significant; any composer as literary as Schubert would surely want the first song in an especially assembled birthday album to serve as a dedication.

The music is chaste and wistful. The key is C minor and like Der Leidende the main shape of the melody is five even quavers followed by a longer note. As in the accompaniment to the same song, left-hand crotchets in 2/4 are offset by right-hand quavers off the beat. This gives the vocal line the quality of a flute or clarinet melody judiciously accompanied by strings. Reed calls this the composer's 'woodwind' style and notes that it is not only a feature of the 1816 songs, but that it is also to be found in the middle section of the slow movement of the Symphony No 4 (the 'Tragic'). The second strophe of this setting is perhaps the most interesting and harmonically eventful. The evening prompts a shift to distant B flat minor (at 'wenn der Abend mir dämmert') and, as always with this composer, the moon (a symbol of virginity) encourages a flight of tenor-tessitura fancy where we can almost see the silver orb moving through the heaven's (at 'mir glänzt, seh ich's und weine') in a chromatic arch of sound. The myrtle mentioned in the third strophe is of course the German symbol of marriage (Schumann called his 1840 songs Myrthen because they were dedicated to Clara as a wedding present) but here the poet would only plait these in a garland if he had the chance to marry his paragon. The poem is about a dream that is thwarted. Perhaps Schubert saw reflected in it his own impossible dream of having a wife, of making a reality of his relationship with Therese. It would be surprising indeed if Edone stood at the head of the Grob songbook by chance.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 23 – Christoph Prégardien
CDJ33023Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40

Details

Track 17 on CDJ33023 [1'17] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 28 on CDS44201/40 CD14 [1'17] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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