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Entra l'uomo allor che nasce 'Aria di Abramo', D33 No 2

Composition exercise, September to October 1812; first printed in 1940 in Alfred Orel’s Der junge Schubert; additional piano accompaniments by Reinhard van Hoorickx
author of text

On this occasion the exercise sheet for Salieri contains six exercises (rather than the nine of D17). The task that has been set is very similar: one setting for soprano, one for female duet, a trio and three quartets. All of the pieces are in 3/4 with the exception of the duet which is in common time. The solo is cast in E minor, the duet in G minor, and the trio in D minor. There are two versions in G minor and one in G major. It is clear that part of the young composer’s brief was to ring the tonal changes.

The text is taken from another part of the same Metastasio oratorio text from 1740, Isacco, which had been used for D17. This is the so-called ‘Aria de Abramo’ which is the reason why the solo version is cast for tenor voice on this recording. As usual, Schubert seems almost uninterested with the subtleties of word-painting in this music, a marked contrast to his passionate concern when he sets his own language. But the purpose of these studies was an important one: to encourage the young composer to think in long lines of coherent melody. He had such a developed feeling for drama and the excitement of recitative-like passages that it would have been easy for Schubert to be satisfied with making music in fits and starts – these flashes of inspiration (which fail to satisfy any craving for bel canto continuity) are what we get, by and large, in the Zumsteeg ballads. But Salieri, limited no doubt by being less than convinced by German music, was more interested in ingratiating melody that flowed as easily, and inevitably, as a river destined to reach the sea. In slaving away at exercises referring to a ‘sea of pain’, Schubert seems to have been making himself ship-shape, preparing his own sailing vessel bound for distant shores undreamed of by the Italian primo maestro di capella.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1999


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/40Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 33
CDJ33033Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 9 on CDJ33033 [1'04] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 9 on CDS44201/40 CD2 [1'04] Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only

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