Nur eines fehlt dir, lieber Knabe!
Eins nur: Dass ich dich noch nicht habe.
The scale of the song, written in the tripartite form of a Mozart aria, is deliberately small and indeed about smallness. There is no doubt that Schubert was aware of the background of the poem. The very name Anselmo is set with the shy decoration of four semiquavers at the end of the word, and this betokens exquisite parental tenderness. In the accompaniment, mezzo staccato quavers, or quavers played between the hands and separated by rests, add to the feeling of helplessness and littleness. The setting of 'Seht, wie liebten wir uns beide' in the relative major could not possibly be about sexual love, so utterly innocent is it, and so gentle; the repeat of the words occasion a leap upwards like a stifled sob with darker harmonies to underscore the sudden twinge of pain. Under the words 'und so lang ich bin' the measured quavers of the piano part break down into a figure already familiar as a mourning motif in songs like the An den Mond: a quaver in the left hand followed by three sighing semiquavers in the right. The third section is an exact repeat of the first (as befits its classical form) but the three-bar postlude adds something new and touchingly eloquent: staccato notes in the left hand and a melting tune in the right are played as gently as those same hands might attend to a sick child, stroking a feverish brow in heartbreaking vigil.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993
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