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Eduard von Bauernfeld was the translator of the version of Shakespeare's 'Who is Sylvia?' which Schubert set to music in 1826 (Was ist Silvia?, D891). Apart from this immortal collaboration, Der Vater mit dem Kind is the only surviving setting that Schubert made of the poetry of this friend who was introduced into the Schubert circle by Moritz von Schwind in 1825. Capell's description of him could not be bettered: 'a lively, scatterbrained youth, one imagines—a Murgeresque bohemian, who later wrote successful light comedies in the French vein … He could talk, joke, play the piano, and drink … Bauernfeld gave us a doubtfully accurate picture of the three (Schubert, Schwind and Bauernfeld himself) sharing one another's lodgings, clothes, and purses—which often meant Schubert's purse—of unflagging activities and spirits, of talk and of merry-makings to all hours of the night'. Bauernfeld provided Schubert with the libretto of his last opera (never completed, alas) Der Graf von Gleichen. He left his post in the Lottery Office to devote himself to full-time writing, and he also edited Shakespeare. It is almost certain that Schubert set Der Vater mit dem Kind from the poet's manuscript, and it seems possible that Bauernfeld provided the composer with a poem that he knew full well would engage his friend's emotions. It seems that Schubert was close enough to the poet to have shared all his hopes, frustrations and dreams with him.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990
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