Hyperion Records

Das Zügenglöcklein, D871
First line:
Kling’ die Nacht durch, klinge
composer
published in May 1827 as Op 80 No 2
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 10 on CDJ33011 [4'37] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 16 on CDS44201/40 CD31 [4'37] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Das Zügenglöcklein, D871
This hypnotic song is from the very height of Schubert's maturity. What could be uncomfortably mawkish and sentimental because of the words (the poet Seidl, a great admirer of Goethe, was a member of the circle and a young man of 22) is translated into great art by the sheer force of the composer's musical personality which binds word and tone into a single circular wreath, end and beginning woven into one. Like Auf dem Wasser zu singen the piece is partially an impromptu, for the pianist is entru sted with the central idea behind the work, the little finger of his right hand pricking out the sound of the small bell rung in Austrian parishes when one of the faithful is dying, and the sufferer's fellows are called out to pray for him. The ingenious accompaniment would be perfectly complete without this little bell, but its inclusion en dehors in almost every bar, the idea of an inverted pedal sounding above the main texture of the work, is the illustrative spur which set the composer's brain ringing. Thoughts of mortality are clothed in slightly different music over five verses. This is no strophic song, for it has too many subtle differences in each verse to be considered even of modified strophic form. The one abiding and uniting thought is of death and the compassion of the onlooker; everything is a variation on that. The singer paints a picture of such a gentle and beautiful world that it appears all the more poignant that someone, somewhere, is passing away to the sound of this bell and its surrounding Schubertian resonances. A haunting modulation to the mediant (for this was always one of Schubert's favourite haunts) is the response to the welcoming words at the end of the seond verse ('wann 'Herein' erschallt'); it is as if the composer stands on harmonic tiptoe to glimpse what is on offer. As we have seen in the introduction the composer might well have considered himself a 'böse Sohne', but he sets the third verse without irony, and the fourth verse (which is surely the worst as poetry) without embarrassment. (There is, after, all a painting by Kupelwieser which seems to show that the composer was fond of animals; a dog named Drago sits happily under his piano.) The fifth verse is nearest the music of the opening and is perhaps the one the composer himself liked best; it hymns the pleasures of the present, and the incalculable blessings of friendship. The year this song was written, 1826, was a high point in the history of the Schubertiads, the splendid gatherings which gave Schubert the love and nourishment denied him in the area of one-to-one relationships. The Schubertiads gave him the chance to show and hear his music; they were a sounding board for the great task he had set himself in his remaining years. In this context, the last verse of Das Zügenglöcklein seems a hymn of gratitude.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDJ33011 track 10
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-01110
Duration
4'37
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 10
    Release date: May 1991
    Deletion date: September 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 31 Track 16
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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