This song is from from the Sechs Gesänge
, Op 10, probably written and published between 1808 and 1809 when the frenetically active composer returned to Vienna from St Petersburg to make daily visits to his dying master Haydn. It is likely that the Rochlitz poem was set (albeit very differently) by the fifteen-year-old Schubert in 1812 straight from an edition of Neukomm’s songs; how else Schubert might have discovered this particular text is difficult to imagine. To find exact parallels between the two composers is impossible, but there is something Schubertian avant la lettre about Neukomm’s music. In the naturalness of his musical invention there is neither rigidity, nor any sign of the formulae of the Berlin school; we sense a freedom to use coloratura, melisma and sequences where appropriate (thus an awareness of the possibilities of the Italian style, as we find in Schubert) as well as a touching melodic gift. In short, this is very sophisticated song-composing for its time.
comparative Schubert listening:
Klaglied D23. 1812
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006