The poetess, as if she needs to reprove any base assumptions on the part of her readership, has carefully placed the words 'after a ball' as an afterthought to the title. It would be too scandalous if we were to think that this kiss at dawn was a postlude to a night of unbridled and unchaperoned intimacy! Schubert's autograph omits any mention of the ball, although it must be admitted that the classicism of the setting suggests a formal occasion and feelings suppressed by the exigencies of convention. The pregnant words 'time of necessity wasted' in the final stanza are disarmingly frank. How familiar Schubert must have been with the frustration at parties of his friends (not to mention his own—he was often relegated to the piano to supply the dance music) where society offered young men little opportunity to be alone with the object of their desire.
There are five Schubert settings of Gabriele von Baumberg and we can agree with Einstein that in these comparatively slight works 'Schubert's feelings for the poet is as delicately balanced as a pair of jewellers' scales.' Baumberg had rather a wretched life because her Hungarian husband Johann Bacsányi fell foul of the Austrian authorities: in 1805 he had translated Napoleon's exhortation to the Hungarians to revolt against their Hapsburg rulers and was punished with imprisonment and exile. Baumberg, whose high point of success was around 1800, eventually joined her husband in exile in Linz and lived out her days there, forgotten as a once fashionable poetess in almanacs and periodicals. Perhaps the best known song to one of her works is Mozart's Als Luise die Briefe K520.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1992
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