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Die Erde, D579b

First line:
Wenn sanft entzückt mein Auge sieht
Formerly D989. September – October 1817; published in 1970
author of text

It was always suspected that Schubert had written a Lied of this name but until relatively recently it seemed irretrievably lost to posterity. Otto Erich Deutsch placed its title at the end of his monumental catalogue, along with all the other Schubertiana of doubtful or unknown origin; this accounts for its original late Deutsch number (the catalogue proper ends at D965). When the song came to light in 1969, it was authenticated by Christa Landon, and squeezed into place in the second edition of the catalogue with a Deutsch number which was more appropriate to its probable date of composition. This jaunty little E major song has echoes of the rusticity of Erntelied and something of the charm of Seligkeit, two Hölty settings which incidentally share this song's tonality. Despite this, there are times, when actually playing this song, that I am tempted to doubt whether it is by Schubert at all. The cast of the accompaniment is unlike any other: for example the cliché of a descending chromatic figure in thirds followed by trills in the introduction, suggests one of Schubert's Viennese contemporaries like Conradin Kreutzer, and the awkward two-octave leap for the pianist's right hand, under the word `ihren' in the phrase an 'ihren Segensbrsten', is uncharacteristically bumptious. On the other hand, study of Schubert's unknown and undervalued Lieder has shown me that no song is quite like any other, and that each has a thumbprint, and sometimes a quirk, which is all its own. A song about the earth has a right to be earthy ('Segensbrüsten' perhaps merit bouncing illustrative leaps!) and suavity has no place in the make-up of the simple soul who sings this paean to nature. In the end, one has to accept that Schubert has an endless ability to surprise us and find a new character for each song. And I can think of many accompanimental patterns which occur only once in his entire oeuvre. Another humbling and inarguable fact for a doubting Thomas is that the song sets many a delighted listener's foot a-tapping.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989


Track 6 on CDJ33005 [2'17] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 17 on CDS44201/40 CD19 [2'17] 40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

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