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Songs

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Nachtigallen schwingen (1852) Op. 6

Nachtigallen schwingen

Nachtigallen schwingen
Lustig ihr Gefieder,
Nachtigallen singen
Ihre alten Lieder.
Und die Blumen alle,
Sie erwachen wieder
Bei dem Klang und Schalle
Aller dieser Lieder.
Und meine Sehnsucht wird zur Nachtigall
Und fliegt in die blühende Welt hinein,
Und fragt bei den Blumen überall,
Wo mag doch mein, mein Blümchen sein?
Und die Nachtigallen
Schwingen ihren Reigen
Unter Laubeshallen
Zwischen Blütenzweigen,
Von den Blumen allen
Aber ich muß schweigen.
Unter ihnen steh ich
Traurig sinnend still:
Eine Blume seh ich,
Die nicht blühen will.

Nightingales flutter

Nightingales joyfully
Flutter their feathers,
Nightingales sing
Their old songs,
And the flowers
Wake again
At the tones and sounds
Of all these songs.
And my longing becomes a nightingale
And flies out into the blossoming world,
And asks everywhere of every flower,
Where might my own floweret be?
And the nightingales
Flutter their dances
Beneath leafy arbours
Among blossoming boughs,
But I must keep silent
About all the flowers,
I stand among them
Sadly lost in silent thought;
I see a flower
That does not wish to bloom.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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