The Shepherd on the Rock, composed in the final year of Schubert’s life, was in a certain sense a commission.
The opera singer Anna Milder-Hauptmann, the first Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio, had asked Schubert, in letters written between 1824 and 1825, to write a grand scene for voice for her. Yet he only finally started work on it in autumn 1828. He used three different poems as the basis for his work, combining them to form an equally brilliant and atmospheric musical scene.
The Clarinet adds to its particular charm, sometimes joining in as a soloist, at other times following the voice like an echo - ensuring Schubert’s Shepherd a special place in the repertoire even today.?