In some of the later versions of the song (which vary not at all in essential musical substance) a tonic minor chord is thrummed or rolled by way of Vorspiel; in one of these alternative manuscripts the subdominant chord makes a passing appearance. This casual variety hints that in this type of Lied, where the accompaniment lacks a strong enough motival character for Schubert to take the trouble to incorporate a written-out introduction, an opening was improvised on the spot. It was presumably this custom which made the publisher Diabelli so bold as to write a woefully banal introduction for the first edition which was re-printed by Peters. He who attempts to compose ersatz Schubert does so at his peril. It is hard enough to compose an ending to a Schubert fragment without taking it upon oneself to begin a work; try as he might the pasticheur always strikes a false note.
It is obvious that Schubert has conceived his tune for the first verse of the poem with its majority of end-stopped lines. There is only one moment, between the fifth and sixth lines, where the sense of the words carries through from 'Hand' to 'hinüber'. The second verse (and to a lesser extent the third) bristles with enjambments, however, and in order to make sense of the meaning the performer has to work out completely different phrasing and breathing at the same time as preserving the original melodic flow.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1992
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