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Friedrich von Matthisson

born: 23 January 1761
died: 12 March 1831
country: Germany

Matthisson, born in Magdeburg and educated at Halle, led a sheltered and pleasant life under the patronage of the Duke of Württenberg. His poems were fashionable at the beginning of the nineteenth century but now they seem merely facile; his homages to classical style and metre sometimes emerge as unintentional parodies, and they lack the strength of the best of his forerunners, his revered Klopstock for one. Even in his own time, Matthisson was roundly criticised by Schiller and rejected by the Schlegel circle. But even if his poems are period pieces, their elegance and sensibility served Schubert's purposes well in the spring and summer of 1814 as a pathway to his encounter with Goethe's poetry in the autumn of that year.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991


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