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Songs

Unüberwindlich (1876) Op. 72 no.5

Unüberwindlich

Hab' ich tausendmal geschworen
Dieser Flasche nicht zu trauen,
Bin ich doch wie neugeboren,
Läßt mein Schenke fern sie schauen.
Alles ist an ihr zu loben,
Glaskristall und Purpurwein;
Wird der Propf herausgehoben,
Sie ist leer und ich nicht mein.
Hab' ich tausendmal geschworen,
Dieser Falschen nicht zu trauen,
Und doch bin ich neugeboren,
Läßt sie sich ins Auge schauen.
Mag sie doch mit mir verfahren,
Wie's dem stärksten Mann geschah.
Deine Scher' in meinen Haaren,
Allerliebste Delila!

Invincible

A thousand times I’ve vowed
Not to trust this bottle,
Yet I feel as if new-born,
When my cup-bearer shows it me from afar.
Everything about it merits praise,
Crystal glass and crimson wine;
Once the cork is drawn,
It’s empty and I’ve no control.
A thousand times I’ve vowed
Not to trust this traitress,
And yet I feel as if new-born,
When she lets me gaze in her eyes.
Let her treat me
Like the strongest man was treat –
Set your scissors to my hair
Adorable Delilah!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. 

Brahms has been considered, by his contemporaries and by later writers, as both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by many. 

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Poet

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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