This is one of the six Lieder and three partsongs that Schubert composed on 25 August 1815. Despite the fact that it was born part of a crowded litter, it is a jewel of repose and spacious inner celebration — it sounds as if the composer had all the time in the world. It also seems the result of cool contemplation in the mountains, rather than fevered creativity (Vienna can also be extremely hot in August) in the tiny house in the Säulengasse. Schubert uses a typical horn motif rather than the flute scales which might have been suggested by the text, but his Attic restraint in the matter of elaboration lends a statuesque and religious (in a pagan sense) quality to the music. Lilla seems as much priestess as shepherdess. The spatial sense of echo reminds one of the Mayrhofer Abschied
(D475, Volume 3) where a pilgrims' chorus resounds through the mountains. It shows that Schubert had long been fascinated by the sound of music echoing through large spaces (Benjamin Britten's church operas show a similar fascination and signalled a change in his entire creative style because of it) and suggests that a work like Der Hirt auf dem Felsen
(which was to be Schubert's definitive statement on the subject of echo) had been in his thoughts for a number of years.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1990