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Abschied vom Walde (1850) Op. 89 no.4


Part of a series or song cycle:

Sechs Gesänge (Op. 89)


Abschied vom Walde

Nun scheidet vom sterbenden Walde
Der Wandrer mit Herz und Mund:
„Wie wardst du mir lieb so balde,
Was sangst du mir vor allstund!
„Wohl wußt’ ich deine Sprache,
Wohl kannt’ ich deinen Sang,
Und will’s an manchem Tage
Nachsingen trüb und bang.
„Doch nun, o Wald, dein Rauschen,
Dein Brausen laß mir sein!
Nicht alles mag ich tauschen
Für Herbstes Melodein!“

Farewell to the forest

Now the traveller with heart and voice
Takes his leave of the dying forest:
‘How quickly you grew dear to me,
How you sang to me without cease!
‘Well I understood your speech,
And well I recognized your songs,
And shall sing them again on many a day
In sadness and regret.
‘But now, O forest, have done
With your sighing and roaring!
I would not change everything
For the melodies of autumn!’
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Composer

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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