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Mond, meiner Seele Liebling (1851) Op. 104 no.1

Part of a series or song cycle:

Sieben Lieder von Elisabeth Kulmann (Op. 104)

Mond, meiner Seele Liebling

Die Dichterin, den 17. Juli 1808 in St. Petersburg geboren, verlor frühzeitig ihren Vater und von sieben Brüdern sechs, die Letzteren in den Schlachten der Jahre 1812-14. Es blieb ihr nur die Mutter, die sie mit zärtlicher Liebe bis an ihr Ende verehrte. Aus den zahlreichen Gedichten an sie, ist das folgende ausgewählt.
Mond, meiner Seele Liebling,
Wie schaust du heut’ so blass?
Ist eines deiner Kinder,
O Mond, vielleicht unpass?
Kam dein Gemahl, die Sonne,
Vielleicht dir krank nach Haus?
Und du trittst aus der Wohnung,
Weinst deinen Schmerz hier aus?
Ach, guter Mond, ein gleiches
Geschick befiel auch mich.
Drin liegt mir krank die Mutter,
Hat mich nur jetzt um sich!
So eben schloss ihr Schlummer
Das Aug’ ein Weilchen zu;
Da wich, mein Herz zu stärken,
Vom Ort ich ihrer Ruh.
Trost sei mir, Mond, dein Anblick,
Ich leide nicht allein:
Du bist der Welt Mitherrscher,
Und kannst nicht stets dich freun!

Moon, my soul's beloved

The poetess, who was born on 17 July 1808 in Saint Petersburg, lost her father and six of her seven brothers at an early age, the last on the battlefield during the wars of 1812-14. Only her mother, whom she revered and loved until she died, survived. The following poem has been selected from the many that were addressed to her mother.
Moon, my soul’s beloved,
Why do you look so pale today?
Is one of your children,
O moon, perhaps unwell?
Did your consort, the sun,
Perhaps come home ailing?
And you have emerged from your home
To weep out your sorrow here?
Ah, good moon, a similar
Fate has befallen me too.
My mother lies ill indoors,
With only me now to tend her!
Sleep has just closed
Her eyes for a while;
And I have left her asleep,
Seeking strength for my heart.
May the sight of you, moon, comfort me,
I do not suffer alone:
You are one of the world’s rulers,
And cannot always be happy!
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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Elisabeth Kulmann was Russian, German and Italian poet and translator.

She was born in the Russian Empire in a large family of Boris Fedorovich, and Mary (née Rosenberg) Kulmann, of German origin. Father, collegiate councilor and a retired captain, died early. The family lived on Vasilyevsky Island in St. Petersburg. As a child, she has shown phenomenal philological abilities, learning ancient and modern languages under the direction of Karl Grosgeynrikh.

Fluent in 11 languages, she wrote over 1,000 poems before her death at age 17. Robert Schumann considered her a wunderkind and set some of her poems to music including "Mailied" ["May Song"] and "An den Abendstern" ["To the Evening Star"].

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