This song has the musical charm of the best of the Kosegarten settings, all of which date from 1815 apart from An die untergehende Sonne
which was completed in 1817. The poem itself is not the best that Kosegarten ever penned, although it is not impossible that he had his tongue in his cheek and was parodying the folksong style. One commentator has called this poem 'shallow and bombastic', but no-one has accused Schubert of these faults. He seems content to ignore the narrator's somewhat nationalistic tone and to concentrate on the girl instead; he puts 'unschuldig' ('innocent') at the top of his score and the music reflects her purity. The accompaniment to the first four lines of the strophe remains in the treble clef in both hands, a dainty ladylike tessitura. The texture of the piano writing is transparent with a suggestion of hunting horn harmonies which may well be intended to remind us that courtship shares a great deal of its delights with the chase. The second half of the strophe introduces delicately flowing semiquavers in the piano at the mention of hair like gossamer. From time to time, at appropriate words, the vocal line departs from its masculine swagger and yields to teasingly feminine ornamentation. From the sheerly melodic point of view this song lives up to its title: it is something of a find. Performers should be discouraged from using the spurious and banal bar of introduction printed in the Peters Edition. The Gesamtausgabe
prints seven verses—far too many for performance.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993