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One can only wonder as to whether Schubert conceived this song for performance in church where there were singers (including his beloved Therese Grob) who would have been able to tackle it. But perhaps this poem where God is addressed (and responds in the line 'Kreaturen, erkennt ihr mich?') is too 'modern' a notion of God in Nature to have appealed to the clergy. It certainly seemed to have been a way of thinking of God which appealed to Schubert. Only a few months later he composed the Klopstock setting Dem Unendlichen which lays the foundation, as John Reed points out, of the composer's epic song style which was to reach its fullest flowering in a song like Die Allmacht.
This piece was posthumously published in a type of 'suite' of religious songs concocted by the publisher Czerny. This commercially viable order tacked on this quartet (definitely dated from 1815) as a conclusion to two Uz settings (Gott im Ungewitter and Gott der Weltschöpfer) which were not dated at all. It was Schubert's almost invariable practice in 1815 to date his works. In any case the relative sophistication of the Uz quartets suggests a somewhat later date of composition.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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