This is the second of Schubert's 47 Mayrhofer settings. The first was Am See
from 1814; this song is the sole Mayrhofer work from 1815, before the flood begins in earnest in 1816 and reaches its peak in 1817 when the composer shared a flat with the poet. Liane
has all the cushioned euphony of C major; the accompaniment is built on thirds and sixths, a way of treating the key shared by Beethoven in such works as the Op 2 No 3 and Op 53 ('Waldstein') Piano Sonatas, and the Cello Sonata Op 102 No 1 which was written in this very year. This is stately water music, the progress of a queenly swan-accompanied barge as it is rowed (for we can surely hear the movement of oars in deep water) slowly across the lake. The song begins with recitative which melts into arioso which in turn is real aria by the time the third verse comes, and Liane is on the way to her tryst. The sextuplet accompaniment had been used to more dramatic effect a few weeks earlier in Dem Unendlichen
but this is a device which Schubert often used when he wished to support a grand utterance; the journey here is framed by ceremony, like a sumptuous Embarquement pour Cythère
. There is a space and breadth to this song ('sehr langsam' as a marking is unusual for this composer) which make it a test of vocal technique. Perhaps this explains,in part, its neglect.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989