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Das Abendrot, D236

First line:
Der Abend blüht
first published in 1892 in the Gesamtausgabe
author of text

This song is unusual in that it is marked '1st Voice, 2nd Voice and 3rd Voice' rather than specifically for male or female voices as was the composer's wont. Although it is likely that Schubert had three male voices in mind for this little piece, the mixed clefs of the vocal lines (two treble and one bass) gave us the possibility to mix male and female voices here.

The evening mood is effectively peaceful and, as in a number of the other Kosegarten settings for solo voice on a nocturnal theme, there is a certain quiet majesty about the piece. There is little in it harmonically that would not have passed for Haydn's work – a chromatic progression at the end of the verse under 'abgekommen' strikes us as more modern perhaps. The accompaniment is no more than a short-score of the vocal parts. When this is the case with Schubert ensembles there is a possibility that the piece is supposed to be a capella and that the accompaniment has been written only for rehearsal purposes. The final loud A major chord at the end of each strophe is part of the musical effect however; it seems that the piano is needed after all.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994


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