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Schneeglöckchen (1911) Op. 9 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

6 Einfache Lieder (Op. 9)


’S war doch wie ein leises Singen
In dem Garten heute nacht,
Wie wenn laue Lüfte gingen:
‘Süße Glöcklein, nun erwacht,
Denn die warme Zeit wir bringen,
Eh’s noch Jemand hat gedacht,’ –
’S war kein Singen, ’s war ein Küssen,
Rührt die stillen Glöcklein sacht,
Daß sie alle tönen müssen
Von der künft’gen bunten Pracht.
Ach, sie konnten’s nicht erwarten,
Aber weiß vom letzten Schnee
War noch immer Feld und Garten,
Und sie sanken um vor Weh.
So schon manche Dichter streckten
Sangesmüde sich hinab,
Und der Frühling, den sie weckten,
Rauschet über ihrem Grab.


There was a soft singing
In the garden last night,
As though warm breezes were blowing:
‘Sweet snowdrops, wake up, now,
For we bring the warm days,
Before anyone could guess.’ –
There was no singing but much kissing,
Gently shake your silent bells,
So that they all ring
With the bright splendour soon to be.
Ah, they couldn’t wait,
But field and garden were still
White with the recent snow,
And they wilted with grief.
Thus have many poets laid themselves
Down, weary with singing,
And the Spring, which they awoke,
Rustles above their grave.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Austrian-born composer and conductor, and a notable figure in the history of Hollywood as a composer for films.

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Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was a German poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, translator, and anthologist. Eichendorff was one of the major writers and critics of Romanticism. Ever since their publication and up to the present day, some of his works have been very popular in Germany.

Eichendorff first became famous for his novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing) and his poems. The Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing, a typical romantic novella, whose main themes are wanderlust and love. The protagonist, the son of a miller, rejects his father's trade and becomes a gardener at a Viennese palace where he subsequently falls in love with the local duke's daughter. As, with his lowly status, she is unattainable for him, he escapes to Italy - only to return and learn that she is the duke's adopted daughter, and thus within his social reach. With its combination of dream world and realism, Memoirs of a Good-For-Nothing is considered to be a high point of Romantic fiction. One critic stated that "Eichendorff’s 'Good-For-Nothing' is the "personification of love of nature and an obsession with hiking." Thomas Mann called Eichendorff's Good-For-Nothing a combination of "the purity of the folk song and the fairy tale."

Many of Eichendorff's poems were first published as integral parts of his novellas and stories, where they are often performed in song by one of the protagonists. The novella Good-For-Nothing alone contains 54 poems.

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