Hyperion Records

So lasst mich scheinen 'Mignon II', D727
composer
Third setting. April 1821; first published in 1850 in volume 48 of the Nachlass
author of text

Recordings
'Schubert: The Complete Songs' (CDS44201/40)
Schubert: The Complete Songs
Buy by post £150.00 CDS44201/40  40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 11 – Brigitte Fassbaender' (CDJ33011)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 11 – Brigitte Fassbaender
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDJ33011  Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40  
Details
Track 7 on CDJ33011 [3'39] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 15 on CDS44201/40 CD24 [3'39] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

So lasst mich scheinen 'Mignon II', D727
Another Goethe character, and another example, in its original key, of the importance of B minor/major in summoning up a certain atmosphere redolent of the inevitability of death. It shares with Nacht und Träume—a B major song about sleep, that little death—a high-lying vocal part supported by a low-lying accompaniment, the distance between the two creating a certain exaltation and tension. In Chapter Two of the Eighth book of Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Wilhelm's beloved Natalie has arranged for the appearance of an gift-bearing angel to the children in her care. This role has been assigned to Mignon who is desperately ill. She appears in a long white dress, a golden girdle round her waist and her hair wreathed in gold; she also has a pair of golden wings, and enters carrying a lily in one hand and a basket in the other. Once the smaller children have received their gifts they recognize Mignon beneath her disguise and quiz her about her costume. It is clear she regards this angelic form on earth as a prelude to the new incarnation she is soon to assume in the afterlife. She is allowed to keep her costume which makes her happier in her last days.

This is Schubert's second (and first complete) attempt at setting this Mignon poem. It has been obscured by the success of Op 62 No 3 (D877) written five years later, and incidentally also in the key of B major. Some of the commentators have felt that this setting is the better of Schubert's two evocations of the delicate spirit of the waif Mignon, but I disagree. The earlier setting may be simpler, but there is something sublimely shy and other-worldly about the hesitant metre (in triple time) of D877 which makes teghe more square, alla breve, progress of D727 sound relatively earthbound. D877, in an uncanny evocation of pale complexion and translucent garb, floats and wafts on a spaced-out 6-4 pedal. It could scarcely be bettered (Hugo Wolf's So lasst mich scheinen apart) as a picture of Mignon, although D727, with an ominous variant of the death motif for an introduction, has in its favour passion, pathos and a generously sweeping vocal line which melts to the major in just the right place at the secof nd verse; the same modulation is less effective with regard to the words the second time around.

Like Der König in Thule, the text has as many interpretations as it has composers and interpreters. Goethe's characters, as even punctilious connoisseurs of literature like Wolf knew in casting his version of Mignon's Kennst du das Land? as an overwhelming dramatic utterance, live well outside their strict literary contexts, and become archetypes of the human condition. Thus the dying Mignon has life in her yet as a mezzo apart from her more familiar soubrette incarnation.

from notes by Graham Johnson 1991

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44201/40 disc 24 track 15
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-01107
Duration
3'39
Recording date
10 June 1990
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 11 Brigitte Fassbaender (CDJ33011)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: May 1991
    Deletion date: September 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 24 Track 15
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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