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Auf dem Strom (1828) D943

Auf dem Strom

Nimm die letzten Abschiedsküsse, 
Und die wehenden, die Grüsse,
Die ich noch ans Ufer sende,
Eh’ Dein Fuss sich scheidend wende! 
Schon wird von des Stromes Wogen 
Rasch der Nachen fortgezogen,
Doch den tränendunklen Blick 
Zieht die Sehnsucht stets zurück!
Und so trägt mich denn die Welle 
Fort mit unerflehter Schnelle.
Ach, schon ist die Flur verschwunden, 
Wo ich selig Sie gefunden!
Ewig hin, ihr Wonnetage! 
Hoffnungsleer verhallt die Klage 
Um das schöne Heimatland, 
Wo ich ihre Liebe fand.
Sieh, wie flieht der Strand vorüber, 
Und wie drängt es mich hinüber, 
Zieht mit unnennbaren Banden, 
An der Hütte dort zu landen,
In der Laube dort zu weilen; 
Doch des Stromes Wellen eilen 
Weiter ohne Rast und Ruh, 
Führen mich dem Weltmeer zu!
Ach, vor jener dunklen Wüste, 
Fern von jeder heitern Küste,
Wo kein Eiland zu erschauen,
O, wie fasst mich zitternd Grauen! 
Wehmutstränen sanft zu bringen, 
Kann kein Lied vom Ufer dringen; 
Nur der Sturm weht kalt daher 
Durch das grau gehobne Meer!
Kann des Auges sehnend Schweifen 
Keine Ufer mehr ergreifen,
Nun so schau’ ich zu den Sternen 
Auf in jenen heil’gen Fernen!
Ach, bei ihrem milden Scheine 
Nannt’ ich sie zuerst die Meine; 
Dort vielleicht, o tröstend Glück! 
Dort begegn’ ich ihrem Blick.

On the River

Take these last farewell kisses, 
and the wafted greetings
that I send to the shore,
before your foot turns to leave. 
Already the boat is pulled away 
by the waves’ rapid current; 
but longing forever draws back 
my gaze, clouded with tears.
And so the waves bear me away
with relentless speed.
Ah, already the meadows
where, overjoyed, I found her have disappeared. 
Days of bliss, you are gone for ever!
Hopelessly my lament echoes 
round the fair homeland 
where I found her love.
See how the shore flies past,
and how mysterious ties
draw me across
to a land by yonder cottage,
to linger in yonder arbour.
But the river’s waves rush onwards, 
without respite,
bearing me on towards the ocean.
Ah, how I tremble with dread
at that dark wilderness,
far from every cheerful shore,
where no island can be seen!
No song can reach me from the shore 
to bring forth tears of gentle sadness; 
only the tempest blows cold
across the grey, angry sea.
If my wistful, roaming eyes
can no longer descry the shore, 
I shall look up to the stars
there in the sacred distance. 
Ah! By their gentle radiance
I first called her mine;
there, perhaps, O consoling fate, 
there I shall meet her gaze.

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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

Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Rellstab was a German poet and music critic. He was born and died in Berlin. He was the son of the music publisher and composer Johann Carl Friedrich Rellstab. An able pianist, he published articles in various periodicals, including the influential liberal Vossische Zeitung, and launched the music journal Iris im Gebiete der Tonkunst, which was published in Berlin from 1830 to 1841. His outspoken criticism of the influence in Berlin of Gaspare Spontini landed him in jail in 1837.

Rellstab had considerable influence as a music critic and, because of this, had some power over what music could be used for German nationalistic purposes in the mid-nineteenth century. Because he had "an effective monopoly on music criticism" in Frankfurt and the popularity of his writings, Rellstab's approval would have been important for any musician's career in areas in which German nationalism was present.

The first seven songs of Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang have words by Rellstab, who had left them in 1825 with Beethoven, whose assistant Anton Schindler passed them on to Schubert. His work was also set to music by Franz Liszt.

He is also known to have given Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27/2 its famous nickname Moonlight Sonata.

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