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Genügsamkeit, D143

First line:
Dort raget ein Berg aus den Wolken her
first published in July 1829 as Op 109 No 2 (posth)
author of text

There is little in this simple and unpretentious music (in that sense it is worthy of its title) to foreshadow the strong working relationship between composer and poet which would produce a masterpiece like Am Bach im Frühling the very next year, much less the glories of An die Musik (1817) and Viola (1823). Fischer-Dieskau writes of the 'sheer incomprehensibility of the text'. It must be admitted that there is nothing original in Schober's treatment of the theme of the traveller who finds his goal ever shifting with the horizon. This was doubtless copied from Schiller's Der Pilgrim, or a number of other poets who used the same idea to similar effect; the sudden two-line conclusion proposing a cottage in the valley is banal in the extreme. There was never a young man less likely to want to live in poverty-stricken circumstances than the worldly Schober, and insincerity is certainly one of the poem's deficiencies. He may be excused perhaps for adopting the romantic pose of Franciscan simplicity that thousands of well-to-do young men took up in this period. Schubert clothes the whole in the manner of a quasi-3/8 Ländler or waltz, rather in the manner of Seligkeit (1816), also in four sharps. It is perhaps significant that he chooses the rather unusual key of C sharp minor which is above all the tonality of Der Wanderer (also 1816) whose plight in a way is related to that of the narrator of this poem. The music for the two wanderers is utterly different however. The rather merry postlude in octaves reminds us that the composer often uses 6/8 rhythm and a flowing tempo (as in Drang in die Ferne or the Mayrhofer Sehnsucht) for journeys in which the traveller is swept along as if by a river current over which he has little control. This gives rise to a forced jollity and a sense of being caught up in the hurly-burly. Like a number of other, later songs, this music, despite its apparent flippancy, has a grim and determined side; there is the faintest of pre-echoes here of the hidden tragic agenda of Täuschung from Winterreise.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994


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


Track 12 on CDJ33022 [2'10]
Track 17 on CDS44201/40 CD4 [2'10] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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