Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling

K596 • “Komm, lieber Mai”

About this work

This charming, melodious, and unpretenious song is set in the key of F major, in a gently rolling 6/8 meter. The five-verse text is by Christian Adolf Overbeck and the tempo marking is Fröhlich (cheerfully).

The first two phrases of the melody are built from a joyously ascending arpeggio of the F chord, followed by repeated notes and a small rolling figure on the C chord, cadencing on the F chord. "Komm, lieber Mai, und mache die Bäume wieder grün, und lass mir an dem Bache die kleinen Veilchen blühn!" (Come, dear May, and make the trees green again, and let appear to me the little violet blossoming by the streams! )

The middle phrase briefly modulates to the dominant key (C) via a charming, slightly sighing gesture. "Wie möcht ich doch so gerne ein Veilchen wieder sehn," (How I would like to feel happy to see a violet again).

Then the first phrase is recapitulated with a change in the second measure, to a touching descending chord (with B flat in the bass, a 6/3 position), the kind of substitution instantly recognizable as Mozartian. Then the piece immediately cadences with an accented grace note and scale run. "Ach, lieber Mai, wie gerne einmal spazieren gehn!" (Oh, dear May, how happy to go out walking once again!)

The accompaniment continues alone for one more 4-measure phrase, with staccatos and turns like a merry springtime birdcall.

Although the song is about "Longing for the Spring," the second verse points out that the winter days also had many joys, like walking in the snow, playing evening games like "making little houses out of cards, and blind-man's buff," and sledding over the open country. This verse is perhaps especially appropriate because Mozart penned this song in the middle of a Viennese winter, on January 14, 1791.

One begins to see that this is a child's vision of the seasons. This is borne out in the further verses, which speak about taking the hobbyhorse (currently sitting in a corner of the room) outside onto the green lawn, about little Lotte who sits on her little stool, "like a hen on her egg," waiting for some amusement, and the hope that the spring will not only bring the violets but also "many nightingales and beautiful coocoo birds with it."