About this work
At a certain point in his compositional career, it didn't take much for Schubert to write water music, that is, music which evokes the sound of rushing water. Sometimes it took only a single image to set his imagination running through its course and, no matter where else the poem he set took him, the water imagery always bore him along. In the case of his 1816 setting of Johann von Salis-Seewis' Die Einseidelei (The Hermitage) (D. 393), the only mention of water is in the opening lines of the first of the poem's four verses. Yet it was this image rather than the images of trees and woods that dominate the remainder of the poem that seized Schubert's imagination and elicited the ceaseless bubbling and burbling sixteenth notes of the piano accompaniment. It also seems to have influenced Schubert's vocal melody which itself bubbles and burbles cheerfully along despite the poem's frequent use of words and phrases like "dark and gloomy" and "Gloomy melancholy." Although a pretty little strophic song, Schubert's first Die Einseidelei seems to be setting the text of a different poem.