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Seligkeit, D433

First line:
Freuden sonder Zahl
composer
May 1816; first published in 1895
author of text

 
This is an ironic description of a Christian angelic heaven, a change of emphasis from pagan fun and games, but rather less serious than the Schiller classical studies. It is in the same original key as Elysium, a tonality Schubert favours when it comes to depicting transfiguration, both serious and tongue-in-cheek. Seligkeit has something of the whimsy of a Viennese waltz, and the earthiness of a Ländler, but its tempo is too slow for the first and too fast for the second. It is all artless enough to be full of the high art that defies definition. The song was unknown until 1895 but since then has become somewhat overwotvrked as an encore for coy debutantes. Elisabeth Schumann, who made it her own between the wars, was able to carry off the song as a masterpiece of soubrette charm, but Hölty's words are capable of more passionate advocacy. In the context of this recital, the song is a means of returning from head (or rather soul) in the clouds, to the security of terra firma. Laura's beauties are after all palpable; when we see her we think we have died and gone to heaven, but we are never certain that other realms will have anything comparable to offer us. The American phrase would be 'let's take a rain check on dying', or perhaps 'let's declare a moratorium on death'. And so, for at least a little while, say all of us.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 11 – Brigitte Fassbaender
CDJ33011Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40

Details

Track 19 on CDJ33011 [2'03] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 12 on CDS44201/40 CD14 [2'03] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDS44201/40 disc 14 track 12

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-01119
Duration
2'03
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 19
    Release date: May 1991
    Deletion date: September 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
  2. Schubert: The Complete Songs (CDS44201/40)
    Disc 14 Track 12
    Release date: October 2005
    40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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