It seems highly likely that Reynaldo chose to set this poem by Hélène Vacaresco in 1918 because of the final verse with its reference to vanished youth and the presence of a thousand sad memories. He had taken part in a terrible war (he was forty-three) and had lost many friends and seen much carnage. The music seems disorientated, mournful and lost; it is complicated by syncopations in the accompaniment which, like similar instances in the later songs of Schumann, are more comprehensible and interesting on paper than to the ear. The piano writing seems disjointed, an obsessively repeating pattern which begins on the second quaver of each bar. The vocal line is as usual in the Hahn style a mixture of recitative and arioso. This is a strange fruit of the composer’s muse, but it is not without its own sad beauty.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996