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Songs

Songs

Vom Schlaraffenland (1849) Op.79 no.5


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op.79)


Vom Schlaraffenland

Kommt, wir wollen uns begeben
Jetzo ins Schlaraffenland!
Seht, da ist ein lustig Leben
Und das Trauern unbekannt.
Seht, da läßt sich billig leben
Und umsonst recht lustig sein.
Milch und Honig fließt in Bächen,
Aus den Felsen quillt der Wein.
Und von Kuchen, Butterwecken
Sind die Zweige voll und schwer;
Feigen wachsen in den Hecken,
Ananas im Busch umher.
Keiner darf sich mühn und bücken,
Alles stellt von selbst sich ein.
O wie ist es zum Entzücken!
Ei, wer möchte dort nicht sein!
Und die Straßen aller Orten,
Jeder Weg und jede Bahn
Sind gebaut aus Zuckertorten
Und Bonbons und Marzipan.
Und von Brezeln sind die Brücken
Aufgeführt gar hübsch und fein.
O wie ist es zum Entzücken!
Ei, wer möchte dort nicht sein!
Ja, das mag ein schönes Leben
Und ein herrlich Ländchen sein.
Mancher hat sich hinbegeben,
Aber keiner kam hinein.
Ja, und habt ihr keine Flügel,
Nie gelangt ihr bis ans Tor,
Denn es liegt ein breiter Hügel
Ganz von Pflaumenmus davor.

Cockaigne

Come, let’s now set out
For cloud-cuckoo land!
Look, life’s merry there
And sorrow’s unknown.
Look, you can live cheaply there,
And be happy for nothing at all:
Milk and honey flow in streams,
The waterfalls are wine.
And the boughs are weighed down
With cakes and buttered buns;
Figs grow in the hedgerows,
Pineapples in every copse.
No one there must work or slave,
Everything happens of its own accord.
O how delightful it is!
Who wouldn’t wish to live there!
And every single street,
Every road and every path
Is made of sugarplums
And sweets and marzipan.
And all the bridges are built
Of crisp, delicate biscuits.
O how delightful it is!
Who wouldn’t wish to live there!
Yes, it must be a wonderful life
And a splendid little country.
Many have set out for it,
But no one’s ever entered.
And unless you have wings,
You’ll never reach the gate,
For outside stands a large hill,
Made entirely of plum jam.
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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