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Erntelied (1816)


Sicheln schallen,
Ähren fallen
Unter Sichelschall;
Auf den Mädchenhüten
Zittern blaue Blüten,
Freud’ ist überall.
Sicheln klingen,
Mädchen singen
Unter Sichelklang,
Bis, vom Mond beschimmert,
Rings die Stoppel flimmert,
Tönt der Erntesang.
Alles springet,
Alles singet,
Was nur lallen kann.
Bei dem Erntemahle
Isst aus einer Schale
Knecht und Bauersmann.
Jeder scherzet,
Jeder herzet
Dann sein Liebelein.
Nach geleerten Kannen,
Gehen sie von dannen,
Singen und juchhein!

Harvest song

Sickles echo,
ears of corn fall
to the sound of the sickles.
On the girls’ bonnets
blue flowers quiver;
joy is everywhere.
Sickles resound,
girls sing
to the sound of the sickles;
until, bathed in moonlight,
the stubble shimmers all around,
and the harvest song rings out.
All leap about,
all who can utter a sound
sing out.
At the harvest feast
the farmer and his labourer
eat from the same bowl.
Then every man teases
and hugs
his sweetheart.
When the tankards are empty
they go off,
singing and shouting with joy.

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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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Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty, was German poet who is considered the most gifted lyric poet of the Göttinger Hain, a group of young poets who saw themselves as heirs of the great lyric poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and whose work was characterized by love of nature and the expression of national feeling.

He was influenced by Johann Uz and Friedrich Klopstock, but his love for the Volkslied and his delight in nature preserved him from the artificiality of Uz and the unworldliness of Klopstock. A strain of melancholy runs through all his lyrics. His ballads are the pioneers of the rich ballad literature on English models, which sprang up in Germany over the next few years.

To many, the opening lines of Hölty's poem Der alte Landmann an seinen Sohn ("he Old Farmer to His Son) are the very embodiment of all Prussian virtues. This poem was set to music by Mozart to a melody adapted from the aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from his 1791 opera The Magic Flute. It was played daily by the carillon of the Potsdam Garrison Church where Frederick the Great was initially buried.

Many of Hölty's poems were set to music by composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. Several streets and schools in Germany are named after him, including the Hölty-Gymnasium in Wunstorf near Hanover; in 2008, the biennial poetry prize Hölty-Preis was created in his name.

Among the many poems set by Schubert are An den Mond (D193 and D468),  An die Nachtigall (D196), Blumenlied (D431), Frühlingslied (D243 and D398), Klage (D436), Mailied (D129, D199 and D202), Minnelied (D429), Die Nonne (D208), Seligkeit (D433), Totengräberlied (D38 and D44) and Winterlied (D401).

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