The dry bareness of the opening of this song, and its key of E minor, remind us of the desolation of Trockne Blumen
from Die schöne Müllerin
. With the third line of the poem we hear another song prefigured, this time the Mayrhofer setting Atys
with its rocking 6/8 semiquaver accompaniment and seamless vocal line. In the third verse, the modulation from minor to major, standard Schubertian device though it is, is a little miracle of seasonal evocation, with mingled musings of both autumn and spring. The semiquavers which have stopped for this serene couple of lines, are brought back to evoke the rustling of new-born leaves and the planetary motions of the earth as the poet looks back at the beautiful world from the far-away starry realms of heaven. This is one of the very finest of the Matthisson settings, with a maturity and economy astonishing even for Schubert in 1814.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989