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Der Traum, D213

First line:
Mir träumt’, ich war ein Vögelein
first published in 1865 as Op 172 No 1
author of text

Some of Schubert's most irresistible outdoor music is in A major, including the famous Das Lied im Grünen, and the earlier Hölty song on this disc about love among the apple trees. It is no surprise that the composer also associates the flight of birds, the epitome of outdoor freedom, with this key, notably the 1820 Schlegel setting Die Vögel, and the same poet's Der Knabe, in which a boy dreams about how wonderful it would be to be free as a bird. This song is a rather more frank, even lascivious, version of a young man's fantasies about birds, but the key is still A major. It is strange that the ornithological music it most resembles is not by Schubert at all, but by Brahms: the sixth Liebeslieder waltz 'Ein kleiner, hübscher Vogel' also dreams about being a bird, also has a cheeky loping gait, and is also in A major. But then Brahms knew his Schubert, and drew from him: this song appeared in Vienna in 1865 (three years before the composition of the Liebeslieder Walzer) as Schubert's posthumous Op 172, an opus number put together by the publisher Spina, and also including Die Vögel. On the printed page the song seems to be from a much earlier age: there is no separate vocal line—the voice doubles the piano in the manner of Haydn's German songs, or many of the works of Reichardt and Zelter. The sheer Viennese charm, however, stems from Mozart and that most famous of birdcatchers Papageno. There could be no more strong evidence of Schubert's astonishing unpredictability in the matter of length and content of his songs than that this little gem should stand directly after Adelwold und Emma in the Deutsch catalogue. Perhaps after living with Emma's much vaunted purity for nine days, the young composer needed to get to grips with a bird untrammelled by a gilded cage.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990


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