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Songs

Songs

Nachtwanderer (1913) Op.9 no.2

Nachtwanderer

Er reitet nachts auf einem braunen Roß,
Er reitet vorüber an manchem Schloß:
Schlaf droben, mein Kind, bis der Tag erscheint,
Die finstre Nacht ist des Menschen Feind!
Er reitet vorüber an einem Teich,
Da stehet ein schönes Mädchen bleich
Und singt, ihr Hemdlein flattert im Wind:
Vorüber, vorüber, mir graut vor dem Kind!
Er reitet vorüber an einem Fluß,
Da ruft ihm der Wassermann seinen Gruß,
Taucht wieder unter dann mit Gesaus,
Und stille wird’s über dem kühlen Haus.
Wann Tag und Nacht im verworrnen Streit,
Schon Hähne krähen im Dorfe weit,
Da schauert sein Roß und wühlet hinab,
Scharret ihm schnaubend sein eigenes Grab.

Nocturnal traveller

He rides at night on a brown steed,
He rides past many a castle:
Sleep up there, my child, till day dawns,
Dark night is the enemy of man!
He rides past a pond,
Where a pale and beautiful maiden stands
And sings, her thin shift fluttering in the wind:
Ride on, ride on, I fear for the child!
He rides past a river,
Where the water sprite greets him,
Then dives under again with a splash,
And calm reigns over his cool dwelling.
When day and night contend and struggle,
Cocks already crow in distant villages,
Then his steed shudders and plunges down
And snorting, digs the rider’s grave.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Austrian-born composer and conductor, and a notable figure in the history of Hollywood as a composer for films.

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Poet

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a German poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, translator, and anthologist. Eichendorff was one of the major writers and critics of Romanticism. Ever since their publication and up to the present day, some of his works have been very popular in Germany.

Eichendorff first became famous for his novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing) and his poems. The Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing, a typical romantic novella, whose main themes are wanderlust and love. The protagonist, the son of a miller, rejects his father's trade and becomes a gardener at a Viennese palace where he subsequently falls in love with the local duke's daughter. As, with his lowly status, she is unattainable for him, he escapes to Italy - only to return and learn that she is the duke's adopted daughter, and thus within his social reach. With its combination of dream world and realism, Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing is considered to be a high point of Romantic fiction. One critic stated that "Eichendorff’s 'Good-For-Nothing' is the "personification of love of nature and an obsession with hiking." Thomas Mann called Eichendorff's Good-For-Nothing a combination of "the purity of the folk song and the fairy tale."

Many of Eichendorff's poems were first published as integral parts of his novellas and stories, where they are often performed in song by one of the protagonists. The novella Good-For-Nothing alone contains 54 poems.

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