Even for a riddle canon, Brahms's setting of the text ““Mir läächelt kein Früühling,”” WoO 25 (1877), presents more than its share of enigmas. The solution to this haunting spiral canon is relatively straightforward. But questions remain concerning both the freely composed ending that Brahms had hoped would be published (through which the piece could be made suitable for performance), and the identity of the author of the canon's poetic text (which expresses profound hopelessness and a sense of utter loss). Documenting the entire publication process sheds light on the former question; and as for the more intriguing matter of poetic authorship, documentary and stylistic evidence points to Brahms himself. By these lights, ““Mir läächelt kein Früühling”” not only stands alone in Brahms's oeuvre but constitutes a deeply personal confession.
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