This merry little ditty, written no doubt for an end-of-year party in the Christmas season, has a distinguished parentage. Einstein remarked that it was 'almost identical' to Zumsteeg's 1796 setting. The key is the same certainly, and the time signature of 3/8, but Schubert's setting is if anything simpler than that of Zumsteeg who for one of his musical strophes uses two of Matthisson's verses. Schubert also refrains from interludes, his setting is tighter and leaner. In his second bar Zumsteeg changes harmony, but Schubert stays resolutely in the tonic key of G major. The effect of this is to make a homage of a different kind: in Schubert's hands this song bears a strong resemblance to Figaro's 'Se vuol ballare' from Le Nozze di Figaro
. The words 'Brüder, die Flaschen' have the same rhythmic bite as 'Signor contino.' There is an appropriately eighteenth-century feel to this music, particularly in the postlude. 'Skolion' is a Greek word for a drinking-song in which the cup is passed round. This is the second Skolie
by Schubert; the other, with a text by Deinhardstein is from October 1815.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1995