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Vergebliche Liebe (1815) D177

Vergebliche Liebe

Ja, ich weiss es, diese treue Liebe
Hegt unsonst mein wundes Herz!
Wenn mir nur die kleinste Hoffnung bliebe, 
Reich belohnet wär’ mein Schmerz!
Aber auch die Hoffnung ist vergebens, 
Kenn’ ich doch ihr grausam Spiel! 
Trotz der Treue meines Strebens 
Fliehet ewig mich das Ziel!
Dennoch lieb’ ich, dennoch hoff’ ich, immer 
Ohne Liebe, ohne Hoffnung treu;
Lassen kann ich diese Liebe nimmer!
Mit ihr bricht das Herz entzwei!

Futile love

Yes, I know, my wounded heart
harbours this true love in vain.
If only the slightest hope remained for me 
my sorrow would be richly rewarded.
But even hope is in vain,
for I know her cruel game! 
Despite my constant endeavour 
my goal forever eludes me!
Yet I love, yet I hope unceasingly, 
faithful, even without love or hope; 
I can never forsake this love,
yet with it my heart breaks in two!

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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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Josef Karl Bernard was born in Horatitz, Bohemia, in 1780. He moved to Vienna in 1800 and worked as a journalist, writer and librettist. He was the editor of the journal Thalia, set up in 1784 by Friedrich Schiller and dedicated to the friends of the dramatic muse. 

He is best known as the librettist of Louis Spohr's opera Faust, produced in Prague in 1814. He had also written the text for the Oratorio Der Sieg des Kreuzes (The Victory of the Cross) for Beethoven and sent it to him in autumn 1823. Beethoven wrote that he could not set the text to music without it being thoroughly reworked and gave Bernard permission to give the libretto to a less critical composer. He stressed that this was not to be understood as a low opinion of the work. (Taken from

Schubert's Vergebliche Liebe (Futile Love), D177, is a setting of Bernard's poem. 

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