This fragment consists of four bars of introduction and fourteen bars of virtually unaccompanied melody—only just enough to make it worth including in a sequence of Schulze songs. It is the only one of them which does not speak directly in the poet's own persona. The analogy of Love speaking to Life, or the flower to the river (on 8 January 1814 in the Poetisches Tagebuch) is not extremely promising as a match for the direct and searing statements of many of the other Schulze songs. An August Schlegel song Lebensmelodien
from 1816 had adopted a similar pattern (a conversation among swan, eagle and doves) but it does not number among the composer's great successes; when putting words into the mouths, as it were, of rivers, mountains, butterflies and birds (as in the Schlegel Abendröthe
settings) Schubert is happier at dealing with one character singing at a time. The greatest dialogue song for one singer is of course Der Müller und der Bach
, the penultimate song of Die schöne Müllerin
. That song of miller and stream brings another song from the same cycle to mind, Eifersucht und Stolz
, in which the overflowing turbulent stream mirrors the miller's jealousy. O Quell, was strömst du rasch und wild
is reminiscent of that work, the piano accompaniment bubbling excitedly in the same manner.
The last two bars of the vocal line ('erschaue'), as well as all but the opening five bars of piano writing, are provided by Reinhard Van Hoorickx. In this performance the first two bars of the introduction are recapitulated as a coda.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993