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Songs

Songs

Im Herbst (1895) Op.9 no.3

Im Herbst

Der Wald wird falb, die Blätter fallen,
Wie öd und still der Raum!
Die Bächlein nur gehn durch die Buchenhallen
Lind rauschend wie im Traum.
Und Abendglocken schallen
Fern von des Waldes Saum.
Was wollt ihr mich so wild verlocken,
Hier in der Einsamkeit?
Wie in der Heimat klingen diese Glocken
Aus stiller Kinderzeit –
Ich wende mich erschrocken,
Ach, was mich liebt, ist weit!
So brecht hervor nur, alte Lieder,
Und brecht das Herz mir ab!
Noch einmal grüß ich aus der Ferne wieder,
Was ich nur Liebes hab.
Mich aber zieht es nieder
Vor Wehmut wie ins Grab.

In autumn

The wood turns fallow, the leaves fall,
Such silence, such desolation!
Only the streams still flow through the beeches,
Gently murmuring as in dreams.
And evening bells ring out
Far beyond the forest’s edge.
Why entice me so wildly
In this solitude?
These bells sound as once in gentle childhood
In my native land –
I turn round in horror,
Ah! those who love me are far away!
So break out again, old songs,
And in doing so break my heart!
Once more I greet from afar
All those I love.
But sadness drags me down,
As though into my grave.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Hans Pfitzner was a German composer.

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Poet

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a German poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, translator, and anthologist. Eichendorff was one of the major writers and critics of Romanticism. Ever since their publication and up to the present day, some of his works have been very popular in Germany.

Eichendorff first became famous for his novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing) and his poems. The Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing, a typical romantic novella, whose main themes are wanderlust and love. The protagonist, the son of a miller, rejects his father's trade and becomes a gardener at a Viennese palace where he subsequently falls in love with the local duke's daughter. As, with his lowly status, she is unattainable for him, he escapes to Italy - only to return and learn that she is the duke's adopted daughter, and thus within his social reach. With its combination of dream world and realism, Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing is considered to be a high point of Romantic fiction. One critic stated that "Eichendorff’s 'Good-For-Nothing' is the "personification of love of nature and an obsession with hiking." Thomas Mann called Eichendorff's Good-For-Nothing a combination of "the purity of the folk song and the fairy tale."

Many of Eichendorff's poems were first published as integral parts of his novellas and stories, where they are often performed in song by one of the protagonists. The novella Good-For-Nothing alone contains 54 poems.

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