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Die Erscheinung 'Erinnerung', D229

First line:
Ich lag auf grünen Matten
composer
first published in December 1824 in an Album musical, and in 1829 as Op 108 No 3 with the title Erinnerung (also in the Peters Edition)
author of text

 
This song has real charm although one must perform almost all the verses for the story to make sense and the tune is in danger of outstaying its welcome after five repetitions. The song is linked in an unusual way with Die Forelle (composed some eighteen months later) through the shape of its melody. At the very opening 'Ich lag auf grünen Matten' (as well as 'Mit kühlten Erlenschatten' which is its echo in the next phrase) is reminiscent of 'In einem Bächlein helle'. This is despite the fact that the tune is constructed on a different part of the tonic chord. Towards the end of the verse, however, the similarities become stronger: the melody at 'Ich dachte dies und jenes' (and later also at 'Viel Gutes und viel Schönes') is exactly the same as 'Ich stand an dem Gestade' in the song of the trout.

It is almost certain that these similarities came about in a deeper way than simple self-quotation. They give us an insight into the composer's creative process, of how particular images and situations prompted musical shapes, or tonal analogues, which rose from his unconscious in response to those situations. It is in this way, surely, that a highly personal musical language such as Schubert's came into being. Both poems (in the same metre, incidentally) deal with stories which are inspired by the sight of water. Thus the 'Bächlein helle' of Die Forelle and the 'klarer Quellen Rand' of Die Erscheinung (both appear in the poems' first line) are related despite the fact that this is, strictly speaking, not a water song: the apparition appears from the grove and is no water-nymph or Lorelei (as in Goethe's Der Fischer). There is also a tinge of melancholy in both poems about the sad ways of the world; in both songs lessons are learned from observation of things that the narrator would have wished otherwise in a more perfect world. The crucial thing from the composer's point of view is the sound of the lapping water which has put the narrator into the dreamlike state necessary to welcome such a vision. As we have seen, it was also the sound of water running metaphorically in the composer's head which gave rise to the melody. Indeed water runs through much of the song like a gentle accompanying leitmotif in pianistic double thirds. The postlude is particularly successful in this regard: gentle cascades in thirds and sixths in three different registers of the piano (with a succession of Es in the left hand which drop an octave for each successive bar) murmur their impartial commentary on this beguiling dream.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 22
CDJ33022

Details

Track 10 on CDJ33022 [3'18]
Track 3 on CDS44201/40 CD8 [3'18] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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