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Der Abend (1814) D108

Der Abend

Purpur malt die Tannenhügel
Nach der Sonne Scheideblick,
Lieblich strahlt des Baches Spiegel
Hespers Fackelglanz zurück.
Wie in Totenhallen düster
Wird’s im Pappelweidenhain,
Unter leisem Blattgeflüster
Schlummern alle Vögel ein.
Nur dein Abendlied, o Grille!
Tönt noch aus betautem Grün,
Durch der Dämmrung Zauberhülle
Süsse Trauermelodien.
Tönst du einst im Abendhauche,
Grillchen, auf mein frühes Grab,
Aus der Freundschaft Rosenstrauchs,
Deinen Klaggesang herab:
Wird noch stets mein Geist dir lauschen,
Horchend wie er jetzt dir lauscht,
Durch des Hügels Blumen rauschen,
Wie dies Sommerlüftchen rauscht!

The Evening

The pine-covered hills are painted with purple
after the sun’s parting glance;
the brook’s mirror reflects
the lovely gleaming torch of Hesperus.
In the poplar grove
it grows dark, as in the vaults of death.
Beneath softly whispering leaves
all the birds fall asleep.
Only your evening song, O cricket,
echoes from the dewy grass,
wafting sweet, mournful melodies
through the enchanted cloak of dusk.
Cricket, if one day
you sound your lament in the evening breeze
over my early grave,
from the rosebush planted by friends,
My spirit will always listen to you
as it listens to you now,
and murmur through the flowers on the hillside
as this summer breeze murmurs.

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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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Friedrich von Matthisson was a German poet, an early member of the German Romantic movement. His best known poem is probably Adelaide, which was set to music by Beethoven.

He was born at Hohendodeleben near Magdeburg, the son of the village pastor, on the 23rd of January 1761. After studying theology and philology at the university of Halle, he was appointed in 1781 master at the classical school Philanthropinum in Dessau. This once famous seminary was, however, then rapidly decaying in public favor, and in 1784 Matthisson was glad to accept a travelling tutorship. He lived for two years with the Swiss author Bonstetten at Nyon on Lake Geneva.

In 1794 he was appointed reader and traveling companion to Princess Louisa of Anhalt-Dessau (wife of Leopold III, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau). They visited Switzerland, Tyrol, and Italy. For a time, they were joined in their travels by Danish author and salonist Friederike Brun. After Princess Louisa's death in 1811, he entered the service of the king of Württemberg, was ennobled, created counselor of legation, appointed intendant of the court theatre and chief librarian of the royal library at Stuttgart. He resided for a time in Italy. In 1828 he retired and settled at Wörlitz near Dessau, where he died on the 12th of March 1831.

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