During the recording sessions Ann Murray amused us all hugely by singing this song in a Marlene Dietrich voice. It was astonishingly convincing not only as vocal imitation; despite the anachronism the song seemed perfectly suited to the world-weary style of the chansonnier. The poet drags his feet on his return to Vienna from the country; D minor is Schubert's key of melancholy journeys (see notes to Volume 2). Here is something of an antidote to the endless number of rapturous songs apostrophising the glories of Vienna from a later part of the century. For Mayrhofer the capital city meant politics and intrigue and a boring job. It also meant a place where political repression made it increasingly difficult to be 'a free man among free men'. The popular touch is deliberate, a Singspiel style owing something to a street ballad perhaps, and a gentle forerunner of the bitter-sweet German cabaret songs which were to shout their political resentments to the heavens.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1989