This is in some ways a song to be sung before Rückweg
(Volume 3) in which the poet returns to Vienna with dragging steps. It is a cheery contribution to the eternal debate between the relative merits of the country and the town. The poetess (appropriately enough for a fantasy pastoral with a touch of Marie Antoinette playing at being a bergère) gives the title of Idylle to the longer poem (Der Sommerabend
or The Summer Evening
) from which this song is taken. There are eight verses of which we here perform the first three. It is one of the later verses however which may give the clue as to why there is an obvious quotation from Haydn's Imperial Hymn Gott erhalte Franz der Kaiser
in the piano's postlude. In her fifth verse Pichler likens her rural domain with its apiary, to a Bee Republic. Perhaps Schubert parodies these pretensions to be a ruler of an arcadian paradise with a touch of imperial pomp? A simpler explanation may be that it was appropriate to quote a patriotic hymn for Austria in a poem which is full of descriptions of the beauties of the country itself. Karoline Pichler was anything but a shy country recluse; her literary salon was at one time the most important in Vienna. It may be that, like many poets, she idealised and sentimentalised country life as can only an inveterate town-dweller.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989