Cornelius’s last work was So weich und warm
for four-part mixed choir, which he composed in the month of his death (October 1874). The autograph score reveals that the version in the second volume of his Musikalische Werke
was not his work, at least in terms of several short sections of choral scoring and tempo markings (the published score was probably completed by Cornelius’s pupil Karl Hoffbauer). Cornelius had known Paul Heyse since his years in Berlin, and even though in the intervening years they had come to differ over Wagner, the composer still valued his poetry. The four-voiced, mixed choral piece represents a reworking of an earlier vocal duet. This alternately imitative and homophonic, strophic setting of Heyse’s poem is a fitting last work for the composer who often achieved his greatest effects with the simplest of means.
from notes by James Deaville © 2000