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Die Rose, D745

First line:
Es lockte schöne Wärme
first published in May 1822 as a supplement, then in May 1827 as Op 73
author of text

For the Romans the rose was the flower of beauty, love and poetry, dedicated to Venus who was said to have coloured the white rose red with her blood when she scratched herself as she ran to comfort her lover Adonis, gored by a wild boar. In western literature it has remained either a symbol of gentleness and purity or the sensuous 'bed of crimson joy' described by Blake. Schlegel's poem here refers to more than female virtue inevitably besmirched by the heat of male passion – a favourite theme for flower poets. The rose here seems to speak for countless young people of talent and goodness, or simple childlike beauty, who were gathered before their time, stricken by consumption and other diseases unconquered in the nineteenth century. The poem has the air of Herrick's To Daffodils ('we weep to see you haste away so soon') and with hindsight could refer to our composer himself who died in full flower.

John Reed has argued that this song was probably written in 1820 alongside the other Schlegel settings from Abendröthe. Its similarity in mood to Nachtviolen (composed in April 1822), as well as the economical and high-lying disposition of the accompaniment make something of a case for a date in 1822, nearer to the song's first publication in the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst und Mode. Much of what has been written about Nachtviolen applies here; for example, the songs' accompaniments both double the vocal line in a meet and meek way. Another similarity lies in their form: just as he adapted Mayrhofer's poem into three sections, Schubert's music divides Schlegel's 24 line poem into three distinct strophes. The form is ABA, with the final section modified into the minor key. In the first and last verse, rising sequences are first heard under 'da brannten wilde Gluthen, das muss ich ewig klagen' (these denote intensification of heat, or the rose's inexorable progress towards death as one harmonic petal after another bares itself to the sun). The middle verse is a little serenade to the dawn with tiny elfin trumpets announcing break of day with a jaunty semiquaver motif in the piano – in imitation of cock-crow perhaps?). We shall hear this motif again some years later (in the same key) in the immortal Shakespeare Ständchen ('Horch, horch, die Lerch'). The third verse droops in the minor, returning to the major key only at the very end as if graceful and compliant even in death, and accepting the natural order of things.

On this performance we have chosen to follow the key of the composer's two autographs – F major; the song was published in G major which ranks as the first version in the Deutsch catalogue.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993


Schubert: The Complete Songs
CDS44201/40Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only
Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 19 - Felicity Lott
CDJ33019Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40


Track 6 on CDJ33019 [3'07] Archive Service; also available on CDS44201/40
Track 3 on CDS44201/40 CD25 [3'07] Boxed set + book (at a special price) — Download only

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