The Op 107 songs are united by a mood of wistful other-worldliness. The theme is unreciprocated love, whether it is poor suicidal Ophelia in love with Hamlet, the gardener in love with a princess, a girl spinning a trousseau in vain and so on. This is not tragic music, rather does it contain the delicate half-lights of fairytale and fantasy.The characters, some of them folk-tale archetypes, all seem to come from old German picture-books The music seems fragile and much responsibility lies in the hands of the performers who need to have a light touch to find the correct transparency of texture. As a whole the cycle has many exquisite moments and cries out not to be measured by the standards of the 1840 songs. Aribert Reimann has made an arrangement of this set for string quartet and voice; for this he transposes the music into higher key.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996
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