This is a late Beethoven song, almost his last, and was published as a supplement to the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode
for 4 March 1820. How proud Schubert must have been when his own Die Forelle
appeared in the same publication in December of the same year. This is music of unaccountable majesty; any other composer would make something banal out of these rather ordinary chord progressions dressed up in rather hackneyed throbbing triplets. And yet, seemingly as a result of sheer willpower, the composer has created something worthy of these exalted poetic images—he conjures a vista of sound with the broadest horizons. Schubert was obviously very taken with this music; there exists a copy of part of this song in his own hand, transposed (perhaps for Vogl) from E major into D major. There is nothing at all known about the poet Heinrich Goeble, or where Beethoven found the text.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006