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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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This song has the musical charm of the best of the Kosegarten settings, all of which date from 1815 apart from An die untergehende Sonne which was completed in 1817. The poem itself is not the best that Kosegarten ever penned, although it is not impossible that he had his tongue in his cheek and was parodying the folksong style. One commentator has called this poem 'shallow and bombastic', but no-one has accused Schubert of these faults. He seems content to ignore the narrator's somewhat nationalistic tone and to concentrate on the girl instead; he puts 'unschuldig' ('innocent') at the top of his score and the music reflects her purity. The accompaniment to the first four lines of the strophe remains in the treble clef in both hands, a dainty ladylike tessitura. The texture of the piano writing is transparent with a suggestion of hunting horn harmonies which may well be intended to remind us that courtship shares a great deal of its delights with the chase. The second half of the strophe introduces delicately flowing semiquavers in the piano at the mention of hair like gossamer. From time to time, at appropriate words, the vocal line departs from its masculine swagger and yields to teasingly feminine ornamentation. From the sheerly melodic point of view this song lives up to its title: it is something of a find. Performers should be discouraged from using the spurious and banal bar of introduction printed in the Peters Edition. The Gesamtausgabe prints seven verses—far too many for performance.
Ich hab’ ein Mädchen funden, Sanft, edel, deutsch und gut, Ihr Blick ist mild und glänzend, Wie Abendsonnenglut, Ihr Haar wie Sommerweben, Ihr Auge veilchenblau; Dem Rosenkelch der Lippen Entquillt Gesang wie Tau.
Sie wandte sich, sie säumte, Sie winkte freundlich mir; Froh ihres Blicks und Winkes, Flog ich entzückt zu ihr. Erhaben stand und heilig Vor mir das hohe Weib. Ich aber schlang vertraulich Den Arm um ihren Leib.
Ich hab’ das edle Mädchen An meiner Hand geführt, Ich bin mit ihr am Staden Des Bach’s hinabspaziert. Ich hab’ sie liebgewonnen, Ich weiss, sie ist mir gut, Drum sei mein Lied ihr eigen, Ihr eigen Gut und Blut.
Ludwig Gotthard Theobul Kosegarten (1758-1818)
I have found a maiden gentle, noble, kind and German. Her gaze is as tender and radiant as the glow of the evening sun. Her hair is like gossamer, her eyes are violet-blue. From the rosy chalice of her lips pours song like the dew.
She turned and hesitated, then beckoned me sweetly. Gladdened by her gaze and her beckoning I flew to her in delight. Before me, sublime and saintly, stood the noble maiden. But I tenderly wrapped my arm around her waist.
I took the noble maiden by the hand; I walked with her beside the brook. I fell in love with her. I know she is fond of me. Therefore let my song be hers, her very own.