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Meine Töne still und heiter (1849) Op. 101 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Minnespiel (Op. 101)

This song was recorded on the album 'Robert and Clara Schumann: Rückert Lieder' on Stone Records (in collaboration with BBC Music Magazine). Featuring every piano-accompanied setting of the poet Friedrich Rückert by both Robert and Clara Schumann, including duets and ensembles, it was recorded in preparation for Oxford Lieder's The Schumann Project in 2016.

Click here to listen to this song with Robert Murray and Sholto Kynoch, or click here to buy the CD from Stone Records.

Meine Töne still und heiter

Meine Töne still und heiter,
Zu der Liebsten steigt hinan!
O daß ich auf eurer Leiter
Zu ihr auf nicht steigen kann!
Leget, o ihr süßen Töne,
An die Brust ihr meinen Schmerz,
Weil nicht will die strenge Schöne,
Daß ich ihr mich leg ans Herz.
Die Liebste hat mit Schweigen
Das Fenster aufgetan,
Sich lächelnd vor zu neigen,
Daß meine Blick’ es sahn,
Wie mit dem wolkenlosen
Blick einen Gruß sie beut,
Da hat sie lauter Rosen
Auf mich herab gestreut.
Sie lächelt mit dem Munde
Und mit den Wangen auch;
Da blüht die Welt zur Stunde
Mir wie ein Rosenstrauch;
Sie lächelt Rosen nieder,
Sie lächelt über mich
Und schließt das Fenster wieder,
Und lächelt still in sich.
Sie lächelt in die Kammer
Mit ihrem Rosenschein;
Ich aber darf, o Jammer,
Darin bei ihr nicht sein;
O dürft ich mit ihr kosen
Im Kämmerchen ein Jahr!
Sie hat es wohl voll Rosen
Gelächelt ganz und gar!

My soft joyous singing

My soft joyous singing
Soars up to my love’s window!
If only I could
Follow it there!
O sweet songs,
Lay your sorrows on her heart,
Since my stern and beautiful love
Will not let me rest on her heart.
My beloved has silently
Opened her window,
And leant smilingly
Out for me to see her
Greet me
With her serene gaze,
Strewing nothing but roses
Onto me below.
She smiles with her lips
And she smiles with her cheeks;
And the world blossoms at once
Like a flowering rosebush;
She smiles down roses on me,
She smiles at me
And closes the window again,
And smiles secretly to herself.
She smiles in her room
With her rose-like gleam;
But I, alas, may
Not be with her;
If only I could nestle up to her
For a year in her little room!
She must surely
Have smiled it full of roses.
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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Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.

Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816–1817, he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. Nearly the whole of the year 1818 he spent in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820–1826). Rückert married Luise Wiethaus-Fischer there in 1821. He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live full-time in his Gut (estate) at Neuses (now a part of Coburg).

When Rückert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life-and-death struggle with Napoleon; and in his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische Komödie in drei Stücken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts) of which only two parts were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time).

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