A jolly little song this, in the best German tradition of mixing homespun philosophy with the beer flagon and punch-bowl. The poem dates from 1802 and is a companion piece for the various lyrics of this hale-and-hearty kind published in the almanacs by other poets – such as Schiller's various Punschlieder
which Schubert also set in the summer of 1815. Schiller's example in this respect might have inspired Goethe to this effusion, although it is clear that the older man, more accustomed to female companionship than male camaraderie at this stage of his life (could one really imagine the older Goethe beating on a table?), was somewhat less at home in this genre of verse. In any case the verses were penned tongue-in-cheek as a character piece rather than a heartfelt credo. The words fit the tune (included in an anthology of 1782 by the composer J A P Schulze) of the medieval drinking song Mihi ist propostium in taberna mori
. The poet Bürger later parodied this, and here Goethe takes his turn too. Schubert thought well enough of the song to include it in the second Lieder album which was prepared for Goethe in 1816 but not sent to the poet when the first was returned. The tune is pleasant enough, and the swashbuckling postlude, with its ascent to the top of the stave followed by a downward rush, is one of the composer's best inspirations in this particular vein.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995