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Songs

Songs

An den Tod (1816) D518

An den Tod

Tod, du Schrecken der Natur, 
Immer rieselt deine Uhr:
Die geschwung’ne Sense blinkt, 
Gras, und Halm und Blume sinkt. 
Mähe nicht ohn’ Unterschied, 
Dieses Blümchen, das erst blüht, 
Dieses Röschen, erst halbrot;
Sei barmherzig, lieber Tod!

To Death

Death, terror of nature,
your hour-glass trickles ceaselessly; 
the swinging scythe flashes,
grass, stalk and flower fall.
Do not mow down indiscriminately 
this little flower just bloomed,
this rose half-opened;
be merciful, dear death!

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

Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, was a German poet, organist, composer, and journalist. He was repeatedly punished for his writing and spent ten years in severe conditions in jail.

Born at Obersontheim in Swabia, he entered the University of Erlangen in 1758 as a student of theology. He led a dissolute life, and after two years' stay was summoned home by his parents. After attempting to earn a livelihood as private tutor and as assistant preacher, his musical talents gained him the appointment of organist in Geislingen an der Steige. Meeting Schubart in Ludwigsburg in 1772, Charles Burney called him "the first, real great harpsichord player that I had hitherto met with in Germany ... He is formed on the Bach school; but is an enthusiast, and original in genius. Many of his pieces are printed in Holland; they are full of taste and fire. He played on the Clavichord, with great delicacy and expression; his finger is brilliant, and fancy rich." Schubart was unappreciated in Ludwigsburg, according to Burney: "The common people think him mad, and the rest overlook him." As a consequence of his wild life and blasphemy, found expressed in a parody of the litany, he was later expelled from the country.

He then visited in turn Heilbronn, Mannheim, Munich and Augsburg. In Augsburg, he made a considerable stay, began his Deutsche Chronik (German Chronicle, 1774–1778) and eked out a subsistence by reciting from the latest works of prominent poets.

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