Here is another strophic song modified in the smallest details to give variety to the lover's impatient wait for Alinda. It is both barcarolle (the song takes place by the water, for we see both sunset and fisherman) and nocturnal serenade. The vocal line is built with the simplest means, a phrase of interlocking downward arpeggios answered by an echo from the dominant back to the tonic; Schubert can always conjure up tune from nowhere, using everyday ingredients to make a memorable feast of melody. The insinuating grace of the rhythm (we will hear it again in the Heine setting Das Fischermädchen
) and little individual touches like the many grace notes in the accompaniment, make a truly charming song. Each cry of 'Alinde' is so subtly different that singers find it a dangerous item in live performance where the memory can play tricks.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990