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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.
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