Goethe's poem dates from 1787 when, during his Italian journey, he voyaged from Naples to Sicily, and encountered all weathers. Schubert never even saw the sea - Austrian lakes were as near as he got. Beethoven also set the poem (chorally with orchestra} at more or less the same time, linking it with a happy ending - a setting of the pendant poem, Glückliche Fahrt (Prosperous Voyage). Schubert preferred to leave the ship at sea, captured for ever and set under glass on the waters' depths.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1988
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