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Friedrich Reil was an actor and author, a Rhinelander who moved to Vienna in 1801. He was probably in contact with Schubert in May and June 1827 when both men found themselves relaxing in Dornbach which is a village to the west of Vienna near the Wiener Wald. It is certain that the composer set this poem from the manuscript. When it was published in October 1827 (well before the song's publication) Reil added the words 'Was often sung here and there in the meadows during the summer by a merry company to a lively and agreeable tune by Schubert'. There is some confusion as to how many of the verses of the song should be performed: the posthumous first edition inserted a verse, not to be found in the autograph, mentioning the poet's studious acquaintance, as a boy, with the works of Horace, Plato, Wieland and Kant. Musically, this renders an already extensive country ramble a little too prolix. It is probable that Reil added these words after Schubert's death. After all it was he who added spurious verses to the Shakespeare settings Ständchen (Hark, hark the lark) and Trinklied. Like Schlechta (see notes to Widerschein, Volume 2) Reil seems to have been rather fond of his poetic efforts, and not unaware that the more he had to do with the departed master's music, the more his words would be assured of immortality. As a professional actor he would also have understood the necessity for cuts. We have decided to follow the autograph here and restore the song to its original, slightly shorter, form.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989
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