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Am Strome (1817) D539

Am Strome

Ist mir's doch, als sei mein Leben
An den schönen Strom gebunden;
Hab' ich Frohes nicht an seinem Ufer,
Und Betrübtes hier empfunden?
Ja, du gleichest meiner Seele;
Manchmal grün und glatt gestaltet,
Und zu Zeiten herrschen Stürme
Schäumend, unruhvoll, gefaltet.
Fliessest zu dem fernen Meere,
Darfst allda nicht heimisch werden;
Mich drängt's auch in mildre Lande,
Finde nicht das Glück auf Erden.

By the river

I feel as if my life
Were bound to the beautiful river.
Have I not known joy
And sorrow on its banks?
Yes, you resemble my soul;
Sometimes green and tranquil,
And sometimes – when storms blow –
Foaming, restless, furrowed!
You flow away to the distant sea,
Where you fail to find your home.
I too yearn for kinder shores –
Can find no happiness on earth.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

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Johann Baptist Mayrhofer , was an Austrian poet and librettist. He is best known for his close friendship with the composer Franz Schubert.

Mayrhofer was born in Steyr, educated and Novitiate in St. Florian's Priory Upper Austria. In 1810 he began to study Jurisprudence and Theology at the University of Vienna, both of which courses he finished. In 1814 he met the young composer Franz Schubert and his friends (Joseph von Spaun, Franz von Schober).

Mayrhofer wrote a lot of lyric poetry and published it in 1824.

47 Schubert songs and two of his operas are based on Mayrhofer’s lyric poems.

As a young man Mayrhofer had been hopelessly in love with Mina (Wilhelmina Watteroth), the daughter of Heinrich Watteroth, who was one of Mayrhofer's professors and for a short time also his landlord. In his late years Mayrhofer (like Schubert) fell in love with a young 15-year-old girl, the daughter of his landlord Doctor Strauss. Mayrhofer, who had been a hypochondriac all his life, committed suicide by jumping from the window of his office in Vienna.

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