Fox Strangways, the well-known British translator of the Schubert songs into English, chose to put this song into Devon dialect. Shakespearian echoes of comic characters with Mummerset accents come to mind, and this hearty bonhomie is appropriate for the way that the composer has set the poem. Schubert's Viennese Ländler and waltzes are generally more gracious and less rustic than this, but music from the sophisticated big city is bound to different from that of the 'provinces' – the German-speaking equivalent of Mummerset. In Schweizerlied we hear suggestions of cowbells and clog dancing, yodels and thigh-slapping in mid-dance (on the strong second beat of the bar) – in other words all the clichés of this type of character piece. The composer seems to have had as much fun with it as the poet had in writing it. Schubert being Schubert, the tune is marvellously infectious and although it may have been Goethe's intention to have fun at the expense of the Swiss, the end result is an affectionate salute to neighbours across the mountains. As with his Italian evocations, the composer seems to be no less in love with a style because it makes him smile. Despite the simplicity of the piano writing, it is amazing that in the spacing of the chords and in the intervals of the vocal line, Schubert creates a page of vocal music unlike any other in his output; it is a vivid thumbnail sketch, executed in a flash by the hand of a master. Unlike Goethe, the composer never had the opportunity to visit Switzerland, and the song pre-dates by eight years his own mountain holiday in Upper Austria where he might have heard folk music similar to this.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
|Schubert: The Complete Songs|
'This would have been a massive project for even the biggest international label, but from a small independent … it is a miracle. An ideal Christ ...
'Please give me the complete Hyperion Schubert songs set – all 40 discs –and, in the next life, I promise I'll "re-gift" it to Schubert himself … ...» More
|Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 21 - Edith Mathis|
'What riches are to be found here in a recital that is, by any yardstick, a profoundly satisfying one … the musical marriage of the performers se ...
'A delectable group of 24 songs written in 1817/18, including a high proportion of charmers' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)» More