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Songs

Songs

Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend (1840) Op.35 no.5


Part of a series or song cycle:

Zwölf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner (Op.35)


Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend

Wär’ ich nie aus euch gegangen,
Wälder, hehr und wunderbar!
Hieltet liebend mich umfangen
Doch so lange, lange Jahr!
Wo in euren Dämmerungen
Vogelsang und Silberquell,
Ist auch manches Lied entsprungen
Meinem Busen, frisch und hell.
Euer Wogen, euer Hallen,
Euer Säuseln nimmer müd’,
Eure Melodien alle
Weckten in der Brust das Lied.
Hier in diesen weiten Triften
Ist mir alles öd’ und stumm,
Und ich schau in blauen Lüften
Mich nach Wolkenbildern um.
Wenn ihr’s in den Busen zwinget,
Regt sich selten nur das Lied:
Wie der Vogel halb nur singet,
Den von Baum und Blatt man schied.

Longing for Woodland

Would I had never gone from you,
Majestic, wondrous forest!
You embraced me lovingly
For so many a long, long year!
Where, in your twilight places,
Was birdsong and silver stream,
There sprang also many a song
Fresh and bright from my breast.
Your surging, your echoing,
Your never-tiring murmur,
Your melodies, all of them,
Awoke within me song.
Here, in these wide pastures,
All is desolate and mute,
And in the blue air I search
For cloudy shapes.
If you force it into your breast,
Song but seldom stirs:
Like the mere half-song of the bird
Parted from tree and leaf.
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

Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner was a German poet, practicing physician, and medical writer.

He was born at Ludwigsburg in Württemberg. After attending the classical schools of Ludwigsburg and Maulbronn, he was apprenticed in a cloth factory, but, in 1804, owing to the good services of Professor Karl Philipp Conz, was able to enter the University of Tübingen. He studied medicine but also had time for literary pursuits in the company of Ludwig Uhland, Gustav Schwab and others. He took his doctor's degree in 1808, spent some time travelling, and then settled as a practising physician in Wildbad.

Here he completed his Reiseschatten von dem Schattenspieler Luchs (1811), in which his own experiences are described with caustic humour. He next collaborated with Uhland and Schwab in the Poetischer Almanach for 1812, which was followed by the Deutscher Dichterwald (1813), and in these some of Kerner's best poems were published. In 1815 he obtained the official appointment of district medical officer (Oberamtsarzt) in Gaildorf, and in 1818 was transferred to Weinsberg, where he spent the rest of his life.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.


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