There is something dangerously near to kitsch about the sheer cosiness and sweetness of this song, with its arch inference that life in the nest mirrors the best family values of the Biedermeier period. The same may be said for Brahms's Das Mädchen spricht (also in A major) which explores more or less the same theme with swallows as opposed to linnets. There is a good deal of genre painting of the period which has the same over-prettified quality. One could not have denied Schubert the chance to aim for popularity from time to time, however, and his placing of this song as the third of the Op 20 group (the others were the much more serious Sei mir gegrüsst and Frühlingsglaube) seems a judicious piece of public relations. This was the first of the composer's song-sets to be published by the house of Sauer and Leidesdorf and they no doubt wanted a hit. And the poet was, after all, the famous librettist of Weber's Der Freischütz.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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