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O Freund, mein Schirm, mein Schutz! (1849) Op. 101 no.6

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 Katie Bray and Sholto Kynoch, or click here to buy the CD from Stone Records.

O Freund, mein Schirm, mein Schutz!

O Freund, mein Schirm, mein Schutz!
O Freund, mein Schmuck, mein Putz!
Mein Stolz, mein Trost, mein Trutz!
Mein Bollwerk, o mein Schild!
Wo’s einen Kampf mir gilt,
Flücht ich mich zu deinem Bild.
Wenn mich in Jammerschlucht
Die Welt zu drängen sucht,
Nehm ich zu dir die Flucht;
Ob sie mir Bittres bot,
Mit Bittrerem mir droht,
So klag ich dir die Not.
Du schickest ohn’ ein Wort
Des Trostes mich nicht fort,
Du bist und bleibst mein Hort.
Der Erde Weh ist Scherz,
Hier leg ich an dein Herz
Mich selbst und meinen Schmerz.
O Welt, was du mir tust,
Ich such in stiller Lust
An meines Freundes Brust.

O friend, my shelter, my protection!

O friend, my shelter, my protection!
O friend, my jewel, my ornament!
My pride, my comfort, my courage!
My bastion, O my shield!
When battle calls me,
I take refuge with you.
When the world seeks to hem
Me in with deep grief,
I fly to you.
Though it offers me bitterness,
Threatens me with more bitterness,
I cry to you my need.
You do not send me away
Without a word of comfort,
You are and shall remain my haven.
The earth’s woes are mere jest,
Here upon your heart I lay
Myself and my pain.
O world, whatever you do to me,
I shall rest in silent joy
On my friend’s heart.
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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