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Songs

An die Laute (1827) D905

An die Laute

Leiser, leiser, kleine Laute, 
Flüstre, was ich dir vertraute, 
Dort zu jenem Fenster hin!
Wie die Wellen sanfter Lüfte 
Mondenglanz und Blumen düfte, 
Send es der Gebieterin!
Neidisch sind der Nachbars Söhne, 
Und im Fenster jener Schöne 
Flimmert noch ein einsam Licht. 
Drum noch leiser, kleine Laute: 
Dich vernehme die Vertraute, 
Nachbarn aber, Nachbarn nicht!

To the Lute

Play more softly, little lute,
whisper what I secretly told you
to that window there!
Like the ripple of gentle breezes,
like moonlight and the scent of flowers, 
convey your secret to my mistress.
The neighbour’s sons are envious,
and at the fair lady’s window
a solitary lamp flickers.
So play still more softly, little lute:
that my beloved may hear you,
but the neighbours – no, not the neighbours!
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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Composer

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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Poet

Johann Friedrich Rochlitz was a German playwright, musicologist and art and music critic. His most notable work is his autobiographical account Tage der Gefahr (Days of Danger) about the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 — in Kunst und Altertum, Goethe called it "one of the most wondrous productions ever to have been written". A Friedrich-Rochlitz-Preis for art criticism is named after him — it is awarded by the Leipzig Gesellschaft für Kunst und Kritik and was presented for the fourth time in 2009.

Friedrich Rochlitz attended Leipzig's Thomasschule and from 1789 to 1791 studied theology in Leipzig, before working as a private tutor. In 1798 he founded the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, along with Gottfried Christoph Härtel, serving as its editor until 1818. He planned to marry the harpist Therese aus dem Winkel and so Duke Karl August made him a privy councillor of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar on 14 September 1800, but the marriage did not materialise. Instead, on 23 February 1810 he married his childhood sweetheart Henriette Winkler née Hansen (1770–1834) on 23 February 1810. Her previous husband had been the Leipzig businessman Daniel Winkler and brought Winkler's precious art collection (including a Rembrandt painting) with her on her marriage to Rochlitz.

Rochlitz was a friend of several cultural figures of his era, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, E. T. A. Hoffmann and the composers Louis Spohr and Carl Maria von Weber — Weber dedicated his Piano Sonata No 4 in E minor (J287, Op 70) to Rochlitz. During a stay in Vienna, Rochlitz also got to know Beethoven and Franz Schubert, with the latter setting three poems by Rochlitz to music in 1827.

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