Der Alpenjäger

Franz Schubert

Der Alpenjäger in E/ D/ F major

D524, Op. 13/3 • “Auf hohen Bergesrücken”

About this work

Like many other city dwellers, Schubert idealized the life of the alpine hunter, and imagined him to be the courageous and upright man that he, native Viennese that he was, could never be. In his 1817 setting of Johann Mayrhofer's "Der Alpenjäger" (The Alpine Hunter) (D. 524), Schubert's hunter is a simple soul who sings his cheerful, pastoral song in F major in 6/8 time. With its horn calls in the piano accompaniment's right hand and simple tonic and dominants in its left, the outer sections of Schubert's song could not be more bucolic. In the song's central section, however, the music turns from F major to F minor as the hunter contemplates his beloved in the valley below, raising suspicion that the prospect of a domestic life does not especially appeal to him. But with the return of the opening verse, Schubert's hunter is once more on the mountain tops, alone and glad of it.