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Songs

Songs

Der Musikant no.2


Part of a series or song cycle:

Gedichte von Joseph von Eichendorff


Der Musikant

Wandern lieb’ ich für mein Leben,
Lebe eben wie ich kann,
Wollt ich mir auch Mühe geben,
Passt es mir doch gar nicht an.
Schöne alte Lieder weiss ich;
In der Kälte, ohne Schuh,
Draussen in die Saiten reiss ich,
Weiss nicht, wo ich abends ruh’.
Manche Schöne macht wohl Augen,
Meinet, ich gefiel ihr sehr,
Wenn ich nur was wollte taugen,
So ein armer Lump nicht wär. --
Mag dir Gott ein’n Mann bescheren,
Wohl mit Haus und Hof versehn!
Wenn wir zwei zusammen wären,
Möcht mein Singen mir vergehn.

The minstrel

I simply love to wander,
And live as best Ican,
And were I to exert myself,
It wouldn’t suit at all.
Beautiful old songs I know,
Barefoot out in the cold
I pluck my strings,
Not knowing where I’ll rest at night.
Many a beauty gives me looks,
Says she’d fancy me,
If I’d make something of myself,
Were not such a beggar wretch. –
May God give you a husband,
Well provided with house and hime!
If we two were together,
My singing might fade away.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf was an Austrian composer of Slovene origin. He is particularly known for his art song, or Lieder. His Lieder display a concentrated expressive intensity unique to Wolf. 

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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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