Schubert is famous for his ability to take us outdoors and into the country—the open-air style is often invoked by the Matthisson poems. But here he shows his uncanny ability to set a song indoors and light it with the muted but rich colours of light pouring through stained glass. The accompaniment seems destined for an organ, and women must have also seemed thus to the young composer at the height of the pains of his adolescence. Here he had to make do with a piano and a solitary manual. It is the popular misconception that Schubert forgot his songs as soon as he had written them, but this is belied by the fact that in the autumn of 1828 he used the opening bars of Die Betende in the sketches for his last work, the unfinished opera Der Graf von Gleichen.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991
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