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This poem is by Baron von Schlechta whose seven contributions to the Schubert song canon (a modest number compared to Mayrhofer's forty-seven, and rather less than Schober's twelve) are spread rather evenly among the eleven years between 1815 to 1826. Schlechta published his works in 1824, but it is certain that when Schubert set one of his friend's poems he did so from the manuscript. Diego Manzanares was a play (unperformed, of course) by Schlechta who was only twenty, one year older than Schubert, when it was written. The female heroine Ilmerine bemoans, in fairly conventional manner, the absence of her beloved. As befits the music for a stage piece, the composer has written something of an orchestrally-accompanied aria in the tempestuous key of F minor: as John Reed writes, 'how well the opening figure would sound with plucked string and woodwind.' The same is true of the postlude to the song which cries out for an oboe to sing the tune in the final two bars above the throbbing strings. It is a pity perhaps that the song is not slightly longer, which would have allowed the composer more time to establish the music's national character. As it is, the whole is over too quickly, a brief flash of light and heat from the south which is so singular in its effect that it never finds a place on recital programmes. This is a pity because this song shows a side of Schubert which would appeal to operatic singers who find the conventional Lieder repertory rather too anodyne. The difficulty would be to find other songs which, with this one, would make a convincing group in recital.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993
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