This song is described by John Reed as ‘not much more than an attractive trifle’. It bears a considerable resemblance to the third version of Der Alpenjäger
; it is not only in the same key and rhythm, but the sentiments may well belong to a man of similar ilk, a soldier or a devil-may-care adventurer, or simply a man of the people, a homespun philosopher. With Castelli as the poet (he was identified as such only in 1969 by Dietrich Berke), the singer is bound to be a Viennese who is determined to enjoy life, refusing to get involved in the tribulations of the grand and important. The character’s single-mindedness is shown by the composer’s refusal to depart from a conventional, and well-trodden, harmonic plan. There is not an unusual modulation in sight. Only one verse exists in the almanac Selam
(1813) where Schubert almost certainly found the poem. There are in fact eleven verses in all, but despite repeat marks in the autograph the composer seems not to have regarded this as a strophic song, simply a small and jolly exposition of Papageno-like wit and wisdom. In Volume 33, and in the preceding track, we have noticed with admiration how adept Schubert is at constructing Italianate melodies in the bel canto manner; here he shows that he is no less skilled in the construction of the German equivalent which is less smooth and unctuous, more muscular and made to accommodate explosive consonants and a different kind of emotional inflection.
There are two versions available to the performer. The old Gesamtausgabe prints the autograph (with authentic introduction) where the music is marked ‘Heiter’. The Peters Edition prints Diabelli’s doctored version (marked ‘Lebhaft’) with a new introduction which, as always when Diabelli attempts to improve on his betters, strikes a somehow false note as far as Schubertian style is concerned. The autograph is so plain and unadorned, however, that we decided to incorporate features of both versions, a fact that will scarcely be noticeable to even the most trained Schubertian ear.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2000