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Der Leiermann (1827)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Winterreise (D911)

Der Leiermann

Drüben hinter’m Dorfe 
Steht ein Leiermann, 
Und mit starren Fingern 
Dreht er was er kann.
Barfuss auf dem Eise 
Schwankt er hin und her; 
Und sein kleiner Teller 
Bleibt ihm immer leer.
Keiner mag ihn hören, 
Keiner sieht ihn an; 
Und die Hunde knurren 
Um den alten Mann.
Und er lässt es gehen 
Alles, wie es will, 
Dreht, und seine Leier 
Steht ihm nimmer still.
Wunderlicher Alter,
Soll ich mit dir geh'n? 
Willst zu meinen Liedern 
Deine Leier dreh'n?

The Hurdy-Gurdy Player

There, beyond the village, 
stands a hurdy-gurdy player; 
with numb fingers
he plays as best he can.
Barefoot on the ice
he totters to and fro, 
and his little plate 
remains forever empty.
No one wants to listen, 
no one looks at him, 
and the dogs growl 
around the old man.
And he lets everything go on 
as it will;
he plays, and his hurdy-gurdy 
never stops.
Strange old man,
shall I go with you?
Will you turn your hurdy-gurdy 
to my songs?

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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 Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was a German lyric poet.
Wilhelm Müller was born on October 7, 1794 at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the University of Berlin, where he devoted himself to philological and historical studies. In 1813-1814 he took part, as a volunteer in the Prussian army, in the national rising against Napoleon. He participated in the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Hanau and Kulm. In 1814 he returned to his studies at Berlin. From 1817 to 1819, he visited southern Germany and Italy, and in 1820 published his impressions of the latter in Rom, Römer und Römerinnen. In 1819, he was appointed teacher of classics in the Gelehrtenschule at Dessau, and in 1820 librarian to the ducal library. He remained there the rest of his life, dying of a heart attack aged only 32.

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