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Songs

Songs

Schmetterling (1849) Op.79 no.2


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op.79)


Schmetterling

O Schmetterling sprich,
Was fliehest du mich?
Warum doch so eilig,
Jetzt fern und dann nah!
Jetzt fern und dann nah,
Jetzt hier und dann da.—
Ich will dich nicht haschen,
Ich tu dir kein Leid.
Ich tu dir kein Leid:
O bleib allezeit!
Und wär ich ein Blümchen,
So spräch ich zu dir.
So spräch ich zu dir:
Komm, komm doch zu mir!
Ich schenk dir mein Herzchen,
Wie gut bin ich dir!

Butterfly

O butterfly, say,
Why fly from me?
Why hurry so,
First far and then near?
First far and then near,
First here and then there,
I don’t want to catch you,
I’ll do you no harm.
I’ll do you no harm,
Oh stay forever,
And if I were a flower,
I’d say to you,
I’d say to you:
Come, come here to me!
I’ll give you my heart,
I love you so!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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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Poet

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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