This little song has been completely ignored and, like so many of its strophic song sisters, it looks unexceptional, if not downright plain, on the printed page. It is the type of song that singers dread, because its musical contours allow no place to hide any deficiency of technique; the work is chiselled out of the most classical marble, cool to the touch perhaps, but concealing an inner life and form all the more moving because of the austerity of the conception. John Reed finds this pair of songs 'unable to carry the weight of emotion suggested by the text' but I would have to disagree; this setting bears its bereavement with dignity and from its simplicity comes a touching solace, provided of course that it is sung by an exceptionally fine singer with a persuasive legato line. It is true that, unlike some of the finest Schubert songs, Abends unter der Linde
is not singer-proof.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990