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Klage, D415

First line:
Die Sonne steigt, die Sonne sinkt
April 1816; first published in 1895 in the Gesamtausgabe
author of text

Throbbing triplets are once again a feature of the accompaniment—very much the order of the day for the beauties of nature ordered by God's hand. On top of this rolling carpet of effulgent sound (the bass line in deep and sonorous octaves) a vocal line unfolds which has just the touch of the broad-arched sublime suggested by the words. But the point of the song is that because the singer is without his beloved (the original title of the poem is Liebespein—the pain of love) there is no longer this heavenly harmony. Accordingly Schubert follows the first half of the song with a new section (beginning 'doch es durchströmt der Sonne Licht') in the relative minor. Here is the real plaint of the title. The music, bare on the page, loses its excitement and surging current of feeling. The music is both brought down to earth and earthed by Schubert the musical electrician: common time replaces the swing of triple metre and the whole is deliberately denuded and empty of magic and frisson. Although this is what the poem demands, listeners are seldom happy to accept the deliberately banal in the interests of dramatic truth. It would be too much to say that this A minor section is ugly but it does depict all too accurately someone who has lost his lust for life, and sadly this casts a pall over the song itself. The magnificent beginning is somehow let down by the fact that it leads nowhere; the song ends in anti-climax. Klage is an interesting experiment; it shows how Schubert's mind worked as he was attempting to mirror a poem's meaning. The poet describes natural beauties (easy for a Schubert to put into music) and then tells us that they are no longer there for him in his present state of mind. This song is an indication of how very difficult it is effectively to describe in music something which is not. The autograph is crossed out, which may mean that the composer felt that it was an experiment that had failed.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/40Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 23 - Christoph Prégardien
CDJ33023Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 11 on CDJ33023 [2'33] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 4 on CDS44201/40 CD14 [2'33] Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only

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