Nach einem Gewitter, D561

First line:
Auf den Blumen flimmern Perlen
composer
May 1817; first published in 1872
author of text

 
Schubert took this title to heart; the thunderstorm's musical equivalent is Sturm und Drang and after the storm there is no trace of them in the blue sky save a rainbow – the accretions of romanticism have been washed away leaving a musical language of pristine purity. In Schubert's mind, here and passim, this means Mozart. The song describes the felicities of harmony and natural order, and it is perhaps no coincidence that the key of F major and the mood are reminiscent of Papageno's 'Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen'. In attempting to find a means of describing the garden of Eden as if before the Fall, Schubert has faced a mini-storm of criticism for this song which seems so unlike his other Mayrhofer settings. Capell goes so far as to doubt its authenticity. But this is manifestly ridiculous; who else but Schubert would have provided an introduction of such enchantment where, underneath a tune of the most artful naivety, the pianist's left hand paints drops of water glistening on the flowers in a chain of repeated Cs – a veritable 'raindrop prelude'? The vocal line might be criticised for its prosody; we may question why such an unimportant phrase as the opening 'Auf den' should be set to a minim and a falling row of quavers. And then we realise that Schubert is creating, before our eyes and ears, the very string of pearls the poet has asked for. Other touches of inspiration are gently limned: the expressive lean towards G minor for the plaint of the nightingale and an unpolluted F major arpeggio for the purity of 'reinen Lüfte'. It is true that the words of the subsequent verses fit the tune somewhat less appropriately, but one must recognise and salute Schubert's open-hearted response to one of Mayrhofer's few unreservedly happy songs. In a group of settings of that poet in recital, Nach einem Gewitter would provide a welcome moment of emotional repose.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 19 – Felicity Lott
CDJ33019

Details

Track 12 on CDJ33019 [1'54]
Track 4 on CDS44201/40 CD19 [1'54] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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