An die Laute

Franz Schubert

An die Laute in D major

D905, Op. 81/2 • “Leiser, leiser, kleine Laute”

About this work

It had been several months since last he had turned his energies in the direction of German song when, in early January 1827 (probably shortly after his annual series of New Year's parties had run their course), Franz Schubert set two poems by Johann Friedlich Rochlitz, the editor of a Leipzig-based music journal, to music. Later in that same year, the two Lieder were published as Op. 81 by the firm of Tobias Haslinger; An die Laute, D. 905 is, as far as the numbering of Op. 81 is concerned, the second of these two Rochlitz Lieder.

An die Laute (To the Lute) is a simple song in two short, charming strophes that are addressed directly to the lute, asking it to "whisper softly" up to the window of the singer's mistress, to gently tell the secrets of his heart so quietly that none of the jealous neighbors can overhear his serenade. Schubert responds with delicate, lute-like arpeggiations in the accompaniment and a tender but carefree melody in 6/8 meter that spins forth rather like a refined folk tune.