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It is perhaps because of all this propensity for physical activity that Cidli fears for Klopstock's safety when he is on his travels, and weeps accordingly. The poem can also be read of course as a comforting voice from the grave. Nevertheless Klopstock, still very much alive, reassures his beloved that there is no need to worry about him, for he is safely in the hands of God. Cidli, incidentally, was Klopstock's nickname for his beloved Meta (Margarethe) Moller whom he later married. The song (marked Sanft ('softly') is Schubert's second Klopstock setting and it uses the same tonality as Das Rosenband, and the link is that this is another poem about Cidli. There are two versions but they are differentiated only by the smallest details. The most exceptional musical characteristic of the piece (apart from the ravishing melody) is the succession of unfolding left-hand quavers which meander through the sand in depiction of the poet's imagery at 'wo in Sande der Weg verzogen'. This is equally suitable for the gliding effect of the second verse at 'gleit' ich über den Strom'. The harmonies at 'auch wenn stille Nacht ihn umschattend' take us into the distant regions of G flat major, but the effect of adding flats to the serene A flat harmony is precisely right for what the poet describes as the shadowy night-shrouded paths. Despite all this expressive detail, the feeling of a chorale is preserved and the result is a beautiful blend of styles where the hymnbook merges with the sensuously romantic Lied. The final sentence for the voice, the tender and simple 'Weine nicht, Cidli' is a touching conclusion to the song which has begun with the equally simple 'Cidli, du weinest.' The poet has explained his faith to her and, beguiled by music of this charm and quiet inner conviction, we can really believe that she is comforted and reassured.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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