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Songs

Songs

Mädchenlied (1886) Op. 107 no.5


Part of a series or song cycle:

Fünf Lieder (Op. 107)


Mädchenlied

Auf die Nacht in der Spinnstub’n,
Da singen die Mädchen,
Da lachen die Dorfbub’n,
Wie flink gehn die Rädchen!
Spinnt Jedes am Brautschatz,
Dass der Liebste sich freut.
Nicht lange, so gibt es
Ein Hochzeitgeläut.
Kein Mensch, der mir gut ist,
Will nach mir fragen;
Wie bang mir zumut ist,
Wem soll ich’s klagen?
Die Tränen rinnen
Mir übers Gesicht—
Wofür soll ich spinnen?
Ich weiss es nicht!

A Young Girl's Song

At night in the spinning-room,
The girls are singing,
The village lads are laughing,
How swiftly the wheels go round!
Each girl spins for her trousseau
To please her lover.
It won’t be long
Before wedding-bells sound.
No man who cares for me
Will ask after me;
How anxious I feel,
To whom shall I tell my sorrow?
The tears go coursing
Down my cheeks—
What am I spinning for?
I don’t know!
Translations by 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

Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse was a distinguished German writer and translator. A member of two important literary societies, the Tunnel über der Spree in Berlin and Die Krokodile in Munich, he wrote novels, poetry, 177 short stories, and about sixty dramas. The sum of Heyse's many and varied productions made him a dominant figure among German men of letters. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910 "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories." Wirsen, one of the Nobel judges, said that "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe." Heyse is the fifth oldest laureate in literature, after Doris Lessing, Theodor Mommsen, Alice Munro and Jaroslav Seifert.
 

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