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Die Perle, D466
First line:
Es ging ein Mann zur Frühlingszeit
August 1816; first published in 1872
author of text

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Die Perle, D466
It is possible that if this sequence of songs was in fact conceived as a set, there are four rather than five in the 'cycle'. The key sequence of A flat-E flat-C minor-back to A fíat, complete in itself, suggests this. The last song Die Perle is in the distant key of D minor, and it has a toughness and bitterness, redolent of Schiller's Der Pilgrim (Volume 1), and a more romantic 'Sehnsucht' which suggests that the boundaries of the pastoral frame have been shattered. On the other hand, it could relate all too well to the mini-tragedy of the first four songs as a type of worldly commentary, and it could be meant to be sung in front of the curtain, as it were, as a type of summing-up and warning. In this key we hear a faint pre-glimmer of Gute Nacht in Winterreise; there is the same determined stride in words and music.

Johann Georg Jacobi was the eider brother of the rather more famous philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, the disciple of Spinoza and the opponent of Kant. Johann Georg was born in Düsseldorf, and by the age of 26 was a professor at Halle University; he later taught at Freiburg. Much influenced by the classics, particularly the odes of Anacreon, he published his Die Winterreise in 1769, and Die Sommerreise in 1770. Ferhaps Wilhelm Müller had heard of these when he came to write what was to be his Schubertian cycle. Jacobi was known as the editor of the periodical Iris in which Goethe, with whom he was acquainted, published a number of poems. The Jacobi poems were only published posthumously, in Vienna at least, in 1816. It is probable that they were bought by one of Schubert's friends with literary interests who showed them to the composer who, in turn, set them hot off the press.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990

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