TRAD. Se solen sjunker (Swedish folksong)

This folk song (‘The sun is setting’) was sung by the Swedish tenor Isak Albert Berg at the Viennese home of the Fröhlich sisters, which Schubert visited in 1826 and again in 1827–8. According to Anna Fröhlich, ‘Schubert was so captivated by Berg’s singing that whenever we invited him to spend the evening with us, he always asked: “Is Berg coming? If so, you can absolutely count on my coming.”’ An early biographer noted that Schubert was ‘enchanted with these Swedish songs’, and asked Berg for a copy. He subsequently incorporated one of them into the slow movement of the Piano Trio in E flat, giving it a setting that perhaps sounds more Hungarian than Swedish, but there’s no mistaking the re-use of the tune itself.  


© Nigel Simeone 


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