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Andenken, D99

First line:
Ich denke dein
April 1814; first published in 1894
author of text

The opening four bars of piano introduction might have been scored for wind ensemble, so much do they seem like flutes and clarinets; the manner of Mozartian wind band extends to the easy, entertaining nature of the whole song. If Trost.An Elisa is about experimental recitative, Andenken is about melody, pure and simple. Unlike Adelaide, it does not attempt nature illustrations—the song of the nightingale does not get so much as a trill, and the sweet pain of love and tears of longing stray nowhere near the minor key. Instead a sweet and infectious melody repeats to a rippling accompaniment, without a drop of water in sight in the poem itself. (The second verse's accompaniment changes to quavers, bouncing and glinting in an attempt to mirror the evening brightness.) The cadences on the dominant seventh at the end of each verse are suitably yearning. In the last strophe the journey to a better world ('auf besserm Sterne') occasions a slight change of harmonic direction and a decoration of the vocal line. The word 'Ferne' also encourages the painting of the idea of distance with the leap of a sixth. The repetition of 'nur dein' on a falling third denotes the sweet obsession of constancy. This touch owes a lot to Beethoven's treatment of the poem (1809), although Schubert avoids that composer's insertion of a rhetorical 'ja' into the penultimate cadence.

A song like Daphne am Bach from 1816 has the same overall feeling as Andenken, but Schubert had by then refined his motivic language so that that type of flowing accompaniment almost always denotes water music. With its open-hearted simplicity and flow of melody, Andenken is perhaps the first song in which we can detect the germ of the masterful blend of sophistication and naivety which is Die schöne Müllerin. Matthisson's poem spawned a host of imitations, the most distinguished of which, Goethe's Nähe des Geliebten, far outshone its model.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991


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