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Zufriedenheit 'Lied', D362
First line:
Ich bin vergnügt, im Siegeston
First setting. 1815 or 1816; first published in 1895 in the Gesamtausgabe
author of text

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Zufriedenheit 'Lied', D362
Claudius, in his persona as the Wandsbeck Messenger, introduced the poem printed above thus: 'The following song seems to have something in common with My mind to me a kingdom is in the Reliques of Ancient Poetry. Whether it is a free translation of this song or a slavish imitation, or neither, I will let the reader decide who has read both.' Bishop Percy's collection of old English poetry is thus the source of two Schubert songs (the other is the Altschottische Ballade ('Edward'),. It joins the ranks of the small number of works (Colley Cibber's Der blinde Knabe, the three Shakespeare settings, the Walter Scott settings from The Lady of the Lake, the Abraham Cowley's Der Weiberfreund) which have a British origin. In actual fact the poem is a very free rendition of only some of Sir Edward Dyer's eleven-stanza poem as published by Percy. Its breezy independent spirit must have appealed to Claudius's breezy north German spirit (Wandsbeck is near Hamburg). Mention of 'Des Sultans Pracht' in the second verse puts us in mind of the orientalism of another Claudius setting for either solo voice and chorus Klage um Ali Bey. Schubert was to set the poem twice, the other version (D501) written for bass. The most delightful thing about this setting, and certainly the most individual, is the extremely insouciant postlude which winks and smiles, ducks and weaves. Together with the cheeky bar of prelude which struts at the opening this very aptly frames the ditty of a self-sufficient and satisfied man - not a very deep one perhaps, but a merry soul. The style verges on being that of the drinking song. One has the impression that a bit of booze also plays its part in helping to reconcile this singer with his fate.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995

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