John Reed has argued that this song was probably written in 1820 alongside the other Schlegel settings from Abendröthe. Its similarity in mood to Nachtviolen (composed in April 1822), as well as the economical and high-lying disposition of the accompaniment make something of a case for a date in 1822, nearer to the song's first publication in the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst und Mode. Much of what has been written about Nachtviolen applies here; for example, the songs' accompaniments both double the vocal line in a meet and meek way. Another similarity lies in their form: just as he adapted Mayrhofer's poem into three sections, Schubert's music divides Schlegel's 24 line poem into three distinct strophes. The form is ABA, with the final section modified into the minor key. In the first and last verse, rising sequences are first heard under 'da brannten wilde Gluthen, das muss ich ewig klagen' (these denote intensification of heat, or the rose's inexorable progress towards death as one harmonic petal after another bares itself to the sun). The middle verse is a little serenade to the dawn with tiny elfin trumpets announcing break of day with a jaunty semiquaver motif in the piano – in imitation of cock-crow perhaps?). We shall hear this motif again some years later (in the same key) in the immortal Shakespeare Ständchen ('Horch, horch, die Lerch'). The third verse droops in the minor, returning to the major key only at the very end as if graceful and compliant even in death, and accepting the natural order of things.
On this performance we have chosen to follow the key of the composer's two autographs – F major; the song was published in G major which ranks as the first version in the Deutsch catalogue.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993