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Songs

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Das Grab (1816) D377

Das Grab

Das Grab ist tief und stille,
Und schauderhaft sein Rand,
Es deckt mit schwarzer Hülle
Ein unbekanntes Land.
Verlassne Bräute ringen
Umsonst die Hände wund;
Der Waise Klagen dringen
Nicht in der Tiefe Grund.
Doch sonst an keinem Orte
Wohnt die ersehnte Ruh;
Nur durch die dunkle Pforte
Geht man der Heimat zu.

The Grave

Deep and silent is the grave,
terrible its brink;
with its black shroud it covers
an unknown land.
In vain forsaken brides
wring their hands sore;
the orphan’s wailing does not reach
its lowest depths.
Yet in no other place
does the longed-for peace dwell;
only through those dark portals
do men return home.
Translations by Richard Wigmore first published by Gollancz and reprinted in the Hyperion Schubert Song Edition

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Composer

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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Poet

Johann Gaudenz Gubert Graf (& Freiherr) von Salis-Seewis was Swiss poet.

Salis-Seewis came from an old Swiss aristocracy. His father, baron Johann Ulrich von Salis-Seewis (1740–1815), was created a (primogenitive) Comte (count) at Versailles on 1 February 1777 having married Freiin Jakobea von Salis-Bothmar (1741–1791) in 1760. The Reichs-freiherrdom dated back to 20 January 1588, for Dietegan v. Salis.

Between 1779 and 1789 Salis served as an officer in the Swiss Guards in France in Paris, France, until the French revolution made him quit. Salis-Seewis was one of the favourites of Marie Antoinette. In the next year Salis-Seewis undertook a journey to the Netherlands and Germany (including Weimar), meeting Goethe, Herder, Schiller, Wieland, and Matthisson. He particularly connected with Matthisson, and an intimate friendship developed.

The poet colleagues shared a sense of Sturm und Drang and empathy, calling it the ""Bündner Nachtigall" (Graubünden nightingale). Salis-Seewis returned to Switzerland in 1791, living in Chur and marrying there, on 26 December 1793, the 22-year-old Ursina v. Pestalozzi (Chur 29 September 1771 - Malans 27 June 1835). They had two sons; Johann-Ulrich Dietegan (Comte) v. Salis-Seewis (1794–1844) and Johann-Jakob (Freiherr) v. Salis-Seewis (1800–1881). He had a lively involvement in the political changes in his homeland over the next years lively involved, endorsed the alliance of the Three Leagues of Switzerland to the new France, and the proclaimed Helvetic Republic. After the area was occupied by Austria in the following year, Salis-Seewis and his family had to flee to Zurich. There, he was appointed inspector general of the Helvetican troops. This activity brought him the nickname "poet general". He later went to Bern and received a place on the Court of cassation. When the Act of Mediation was issued by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, it became possible for Salis-Seewis to return to Graubünden. There he held several public offices until 1817, then he withdrew as Swiss federal colonel. His father had died two years before.

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