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Zigeunerleben (1840) Op. 29 no.3

Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Gedichte (Op. 29)


Im Schatten des Waldes, im Buchengezweig
Da regt sich’s und raschelt und flüstert zugleich;
Es flackern die Flammen, es gaukelt der Schein
Um bunte Gestalten, um Laub und Gestein.
Das ist der Zigeuner bewegliche Schar,
Mit blitzendem Aug’ und mit wallendem Haar,
Gesäugt an des Niles geheiligter Flut,
Gebräunt von Hispaniens südlicher Glut.
Ums lodernde Feuer in schwellendem Grün
Da lagern die Männer verwildert und kühn,
Da kauern die Weiber und rüsten das Mahl,
Und füllen geschäftig den alten Pokal.
Und Sagen und Lieder ertönen im Rund,
Wie Spaniens Gärten so blühend und bunt,
Und magische Sprüche für Not und Gefahr
Verkündet die Alte der horchenden Schar.
Schwarzäugige Mädchen beginnen den Tanz;
Da sprühen die Fackeln im rötlichen Glanz,
Heiß lockt die Gitarre, die Cymbel klingt,
Wie wilder und wilder der Reigen sich schlingt.
Dann ruhn sie ermüdet von nächtlichen Reihn;
Es rauschen die Buchen in Schlummer sie ein,
Und die aus der glücklichen Heimat verbannt,
Sie schauen im Traume das glückliche Land.
Doch wie nun im Osten der Morgen erwacht,
Verlöschen die schönen Gebilde der Nacht;
Es scharret das Maultier bei Tagesbeginn,
Fort ziehn die Gestalten, wer sagt dir wohin?

Gypsy life

In the shaded wood, among the beech tree’s boughs
Things stir and rustle and murmur;
The flames flicker, the glow dances
Round coloured forms, round foliage and stone.
It is the gypsies who throng there
With flashing eyes and waving hair,
Suckled alongside the sacred Nile,
Bronzed by Spain’s southern heat.
Around the blazing fire in the burgeoning green
The bold, wild men are stretched,
The women crouch and prepare the meal,
And busily fill the ancient goblet.
And fables and songs sound all around,
Colourful and blooming as the gardens of Spain,
And the old gypsy recites to the listening throng
Her magic spells against famine and danger.
Dark-eyed girls begin the dance;
Torches sparkle in the reddish gleam,
Passionate guitars entice, cymbals sound,
As the dance grows wilder and wilder.
Then, exhausted, they rest from the nightly dance,
The beech trees rustle them to sleep,
And, banished from their native land,
They see in dreams that happy land.
But when the day dawns in the east,
The nocturnal visions fade;
The mule at daybreak paws at the ground,
The figures set off, but who knows where?
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Robert Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.

Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as KinderszenenAlbum für die JugendBlumenstück, the Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music), a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.

In 1840, Schumann married Friedrich Wieck's daughter Clara, against the wishes of her father, following a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career as a pianist, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.

Schumann suffered from a lifelong mental disorder, first manifesting itself in 1833 as a severe melancholic depressive episode, which recurred several times alternating with phases of ‘exaltation’ and increasingly also delusional ideas of being poisoned or threatened with metallic items. After a suicide attempt in 1854, Schumann was admitted to amental asylum, at his own request, in Endenich near Bonn. Diagnosed with "psychotic melancholia", Schumann died two years later in 1856 without having recovered from his mental illness.

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Emanuel von Geibel , German poet and playwright.
He was born at Lübeck, the son of a pastor. He was originally intended for his father's profession and studied at Bonn and Berlin, but his real interests lay not in theology but in classical and romance philology. In 1838 he accepted a tutorship at Athens, where he remained until 1840. In the same year he published, in conjunction with his friend Ernst Curtius, a volume of translations from Greek. His first poems were published in a volume entitled Zeitstimmen in 1841. In 1842 he entered the service of Frederick William IV, the king of Prussia, with an annual stipend of 300 thalers; under whom he produced König Roderich (1843), a tragedy, König Sigurds Brautfahrt (1846), an epic, and Juniuslieder (1848), lyrics in a more spirited and manlier style than his early poems.

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