Stadler's other contribution to the Schubert song canon dates back to the golden song year of 1815; it was set only three days before the miraculous Wandrers Nachtlied
('Der du von dem Himmel bist'), and Erster Verlust
(both Volume 1). Indeed the ambiguity between F minor and its relative major of A flat in the latter song is very much a part of Lieb Minna
. Also extraordinary is the similarity between the one-bar postlude of Erster Verlust
(which in five notes seems to encapsulate all the pain in the world) and a similar bar in Lieb Minna
which is in every respect a study for the ending of the great Goethe setting, with the same tonal ambiguity between the same two keys. Of course both songs are about loss, but in three days in 1815 Schubert can progress from Minna's somewhat melodramatic fate to a single distilled page of universal significance. Lieb Minna
is nevertheless, within its own terms, skilfully done. It is a strophic song which depends on the performers for variety, but in a tremulous way the opening vocal line—supported by tentative staccato quavers in the piano and straying only a semitone in either direction from the security of the dominant—depicts fragility and dependency. What emerges from the song (and poem of course) is a portrait of Minna as a type of Dickensian heroine of somewhat one-dimensional femininity. We somehow can see her exquisite little tear-bedewed face; hasty steps to Wilhelm's graveside are taken with the most delicate and small of feet. Unable to bear the burden of bereavement she fades away, and after a tiny, muted Liebestod, joins her lover in a better world.
Albert Stadler, like Spaun, Kenner, and Senn, was a fellow student of Schubert's at the Imperial Seminary. He was extremely close to the composer in the early years, and was in the habit of making copies of all Schubert's work. Stadler was himself something of a composer. Like Spaun, he made his living as a lawyer and went to work in Linz in 1821, the same year that Spaun was also `exiled' from Vienna to that provincial capital. Schubert and Stadler were reunited in the summers of 1819 and 1825 when the composer went on holiday to Upper Austria. There are only two Stadler settings by Schubert.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989