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Der Morgenkuss, D264

First line:
Durch eine ganze Nacht sich nah zu sein
first published in 1850 in volume 45 of the Nachlass
author of text

The first few bars of the introduction set the scene in a ceremonial manner reminiscent of an earlier age. Once again the song is in the 'sunset' key of E flat in the original version, and once again there is a drop of a fourth—E flat to B flat—which is also later incorporated into the vocal line. This opening figure, somewhat pomposo in its descent, is followed by an upward inflection which perhaps reflects the inevitable sunrise the morning after. These immutable wonders of nature are then followed by a passage which adds a human dimension to the scene: the piano music takes a delightfully decorative turn with scale passages culminating in a trill. This evokes romantic rapture and a racing heart. It is here that one is reminded of a Haydn, a composer whom Einstein credits for having influenced all the Baumberg settings. The floridity of the opening might well have discouraged nineteenth-century amateur accompanists; when the song was published by Diabelli in the Nachlass not only was the song transposed down a third but the introduction was suppressed in favour of a simplified version, re-barred in note values of double the value so as to appear less complex on the printed page. It is this version which was printed in the Peters Edition. The doctored first edition also cut the interludes between the strophes to the detriment of the music and to the discomfort of any interpreter already taxed by a vocal line where there is no respite in the melodic flow, and where breath has to be snatched in passing.

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


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 15 – Margaret Price
CDJ33015Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 7 on CDJ33015 [3'20] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 12 on CDS44201/40 CD9 [3'20] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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