Just when we have decided that on the 17th June 1815 Schubert was in an earthy and cheeky mood he follows the composition of the risqué Der Traum
with another Hölty setting, this time of the highest idealism; once again we see that this composer can happily embrace both the sacred and the profane in the span of a single day. A fortnight later he was to compose another song in A flat, the incomparable Goethe setting Erster Verlust
, and in some ways this song, in the same key, seems a study for that masterpiece. There are similarities too to the Kosegarten Ida songs from the same period. All is stoic simplicity—the voice part hugging the accompanimental line for some of the time. There are times when the Catholic Baroque, Viennese and Italian influences which shaped much of Schubert's endlessly inventive nature are subjugated in favour of that German (as opposed to Austrian) propriety which inspired Zelter, Reichardt and Zumsteeg, not to mention much of the most touching music of Schumann and Brahms. Beauty of melody and sentiment are seen and heard to be under the control of rules of conduct that seem more appropriate to the Protestant north than the Catholic south, extraneous musical show us at a minimum. lt is in this way that the influence of Adelwold und Emma
(which Schubert instinctively places in an austere northern milieu) also hangs over this arbour.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990