Gesang und Liebe in schönem Verein
Sie erhalten dem Leben den Jugendschein.
Song and love in beautiful union
Preserve the glow of youth lifelong.
And so say all of us! Few singers and pianists would argue that this was not a pleasant motto for a life in music. The great difficulty of this song, however, is that to sing this last verse in a way that makes sense we would have to perform all the strophes which lead up to it. Not even the composer made it clear on his manuscript (one verse written out with a repeat mark) that he had thought through the consequences of writing a strophic song of this simple and hearty type where one verse is inextricably connected with the next. The music is typical of the choruses which Schubert wrote for convivial occasions; the tune is simple enough to remember after a few repetitions, but perhaps the number of repeats that would be welcome in performance ultimately depends on the wine, and whether there is audience participation. For the purposes of this record, the quality and quantity of our listeners' cellars and voices (not to mention patience) are unknown to us. Accordingly, we have made a selection of four verses which, while not doing justice to the scope of Schiller's scenario, at least tell part of the long story in logical sequence. The rollicking tune at the end of each verse is adapted from the postlude to an earlier Schiller setting for male quartet and piano, Punschlied D277.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993