German was, of course, Sibelius’s first foreign language (he spoke little French or English) and it was natural that at a time when his music was beginning to find a welcome in Germany in the first years of the century he should turn in his Opus 50 to a major language. Two of the set, Im Feld ein Mädchen singt
(‘In the field a maiden sings’) and Die stille Stadt
(‘The silent town’) are among his greatest songs. Lenzgesang
(‘Spring song’), to words of Fitger, suffers from a piano accompaniment set in too low in register, which does not really blend with the voice, but the vocal part itself has exuberance and charm, as indeed does its immediate successor Sehnsucht
(‘Longing’, or ‘Loneliness’).
from notes by Robert Layton © 2002