This poem was written in 1795 as part of an intended sequel for Die Zauberflöte
, as a duet for Papageno and Papagena. The poet revered Mozart whom he had once seen when the infant prodigy (seven years younger than himself) had visited Frankfurt. Of course Goethe had no great success in finding a composer adequate to the task of worthily setting such a libretto, but on this showing he might have done worse than Schubert who needed no extra encouragement to pay homage to his idol Mozart, or to make a musical bow in the direction of the greatest of all Singspiele. As with Die Spinnerin
the tessitura is cruelly high in the original key of C major; could it be that these songs were conceived for Therese Grob whose vocal accomplishments included a D in alt? There is a suggestive quality in the words which might have appealed to her less as a good church-going girl. This song would be more performed if there was more time to breathe, and the words, in this pert tempo, were not such a mouthful.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989