An Mignon, D161 First version

First line:
Über Tal und Fluss getragen
composer
published in 1825 as Op 19 No 2
author of text

 
This work exists in two different keys. The version published in Schubert's lifetime is in G minor. The first version (recorded here) is in G sharp minor – the only song in that key that the composer was ever to write. The marking is 'Klagend, mässig' ('Plaintively, in a moderate tempo'), as opposed to the 'Etwas geschwind' of the published version. Schubert had sent the song to Goethe in the 1816 Lieder album written out in G sharp minor. Perhaps the later change to G minor was at the advice of the publishers who wanted to spare their customers unwarranted and tricky accidentals.

The Goethe scholar Eduard von Hellen contends that the inspiration of the poem was Magdalena Riggi, an Italian girl (like Mignon) who also felt hemmed in by her life and who longed for her freedom. If this is true it makes better sense that a woman should sing An Mignon (particularly in a higher, brighter key) than a man. The melodic simplicity of the song (immediately reminiscent of Am Feierabend from Die schöne Müllerin) is enriched by some astonishing modulations. Particularly noteworthy is the Neapolitan change of harmony between the repetition of 'immer Morgens wieder auf' which prophesies 'jeder Strom wird's Meer gewinnen' in Irrlicht from Winterreise.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995

Recordings

Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/4040CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 24
CDJ33024Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40

Details

Track 2 on CDJ33024 [1'36] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 8 on CDS44201/40 CD5 [1'36] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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