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Songs

Songs

Atys (1817) D585

Atys

Der Knabe seufzt über’s grüne Meer, 
Vom fernenden Ufer kam er her,
Er wünscht sich mächtige Schwingen, 
Die sollten ihn ins heimische Land, 
Woran ihn ewige Sehnsucht mahnt, 
Im rauschenden Fluge bringen.
„O Heimweh! unergründlicher Schmerz, 
Was folterst du das junge Herz?
Kann Liebe dich nicht verdrängen?
So willst du die Frucht, die herrlich reift, 
Die Gold und flüssiger Purpur streift, 
Mit tödlichem Feuer versengen?
„Ich liebe, ich rase, ich hab’ sie gesehn,
Die Lüfte durchschnitt sie im Sturmeswehn, 
Auf löwengezogenem Wagen,
Ich musste flehn: o nimm mich mit!
Mein Leben ist düster und abgeblüht;
Wirst du meine Bitte versagen?
„Sie schaute mit gütigem Lächeln mich an; 
Nach Thrazien zog uns das Löwengespann, 
Da dien’ ich als Priester ihr eigen.
Den Rasenden kränzt ein seliges Glück, 
Der Aufgewachte schaudert zurück:
Kein Gott will sich hülfreich erzeigen.
„Dort, hinter den Bergen im scheidenden Strahl’ 
Des Abends entschlummert mein väterlich Tal; 
O wär’ ich jenseits der Wellen!“
Seufzet der Knabe. Doch Cymbelgetön 
Verkündet die Göttin; er stürzt von Höh’n
In Gründe und waldige Stellen.

Attis

With a sigh the youth gazes over the green sea; 
he came from a distant shore,
and longs for mighty wings
that would take him in whirring flight
to the homeland
for which he yearns eternally.
‘O longing for home, unfathomable pain, 
why do you torment the young heart? 
Can love not drive you out?
Will you then scorch with your deadly fire 
the fruit that ripens gloriously,
kissed by gold and liquid purple?
‘I live, I rage, I have seen her;
like a whirlwind she swept through the air 
in a chariot drawn by lions.
I had to entreat: Take me with you!
My life is bleak and barren.
Will you deny my plea?
‘She looked upon me with a kindly smile;
the lions bore us off to Thrace
where I serve as her priest.
The madman is filled with blissful happiness; 
but when he awakes he recoils in fear:
there is no god to lend his aid.
‘There beyond the mountain, in the dying rays
of evening, my native valley begins to slumber.
O that I might cross the waters!’
Thus sighs the youth. But the clash of cymbals 
proclaims the goddess; he plunges from the heights 
into the woods deep below.

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 Baptist Mayrhofer , was an Austrian poet and librettist. He is best known for his close friendship with the composer Franz Schubert.

Mayrhofer was born in Steyr, educated and Novitiate in St. Florian's Priory Upper Austria. In 1810 he began to study Jurisprudence and Theology at the University of Vienna, both of which courses he finished. In 1814 he met the young composer Franz Schubert and his friends (Joseph von Spaun, Franz von Schober).

Mayrhofer wrote a lot of lyric poetry and published it in 1824.

47 Schubert songs and two of his operas are based on Mayrhofer’s lyric poems.

As a young man Mayrhofer had been hopelessly in love with Mina (Wilhelmina Watteroth), the daughter of Heinrich Watteroth, who was one of Mayrhofer's professors and for a short time also his landlord. In his late years Mayrhofer (like Schubert) fell in love with a young 15-year-old girl, the daughter of his landlord Doctor Strauss. Mayrhofer, who had been a hypochondriac all his life, committed suicide by jumping from the window of his office in Vienna.

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