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Ossians Lied nach dem Falle Nathos (1815) D278

Ossian's Song after the Death of Nathos

Bend forward from your clouds, ghosts of my
fathers! Lay the red terror of your course.
Receive the falling chief; whether he comes
from a distant land or rises from
the rolling sea. Let his robe of mist be near;
his spear that is formed of a cloud. Place an half-
extinguished meteor by his side in the form
of the hero’s sword. And oh! let his countenance be
lovely, that his friends may delight in
his presence. Bend from your clouds,’ I said.
‘Ghosts of my fathers! Bend!’

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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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Edmund von Harold, born in Limerick, was an officer in the service of the Elector Palatine.

He is know particularly for his involvement with the Ossian cycle of epic poems by Scottish poet, James Macpherson, who claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in Gaelic from ancient sources and that the work was his translation of that material.

In 1775 Harold produced his own translation of James Macpherson's Ossian into Germany prose, but incorporated some of his own 'discoveries'. In 1787 he published an independent volume of Ossianic poetry, simultaneously in both English and German, making capital of his 'insider's' knowledge of the Bard.

Schubert's settings of the songs are based on the 1775 translation, and include Cronnan (D282), Das Mädchen von Inistore (D281), Der Tod Oscars (D375), Die Nacht (D534), Lodas Gespenst (D150), Lorma (D327 and D376), Ossians Lied nach dem Fallen Nathos (D278) and Shilrik und Vinvelva (D293).

 (Taken from Howard Gaskill, The Reception of Ossian in Europe, Bloomsbury, and from Wikipedia.)

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James Macpherson was a Scottish writer, poet, literary collector and politician, known as the "translator" of the Ossian cycle of poems. He was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation.
Macpherson was born at Ruthven in the parish of Kingussie in Badenoch, Inverness-shire. In the 1752-3 session, he was sent to King's College, Aberdeen, moving two years later to Marischal College (the two institutions later became the University of Aberdeen); it is also believed that he attended classes at the University of Edinburgh as a divinity student in 1755–6. During his years as a student, he ostensibly wrote over 4,000 lines of verse, some of which was later published, notably The Highlander (1758), a six-canto epic poem, which he attempted to suppress sometime after its publication.

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