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Die letzten Blumen starben (1851) Op.104 no.6


Part of a series or song cycle:

Sieben Lieder von Elisabeth Kulmann (Op.104)


Die letzten Blumen starben

Ein Gedicht voll trüber Todesahnung, wohl aus ihrem letzten Lebensjahr. Sie hatte neben ihrer „Hütte“ ein kleines Gärtchen, in dem sie Jahraus, Jahrein, Blumen pflegte. Auch eine Pappel stand in der Nähe.
Die letzten Blumen starben,
Längst sank die Königin
Der warmen Sommermonde,
Die holde Rose hin!
Du hehre Georgine,
Erhebst nicht mehr dein Haupt!
Selbst meine hohe Pappel
Seh ich schon halb entlaubt.
Bin ich doch weder Pappel,
Noch Rose, zart und schlank,
Warum soll ich nicht sinken,
Da selbst die Rose sank?

The last flowers have died

A poem full of the presentiment of death, probably dating from the last year of her life. Next to her ‘hut’ there was a little garden, in which year after year she grew flowers. There was also a poplar nearby.
The last flowers have died,
The fair rose, queen
Of the warm summer months,
Has long since gone to rest!
You, gracious dahlia,
No longer raise your head!
Even my tall poplar
Has lost half of its flowers.
And I, who am neither poplar,
Nor delicate slender rose,
Why should I not fade,
If even roses fade?
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

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"].

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


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