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Gekämpft hat meine Barke (1851) Op. 104 no.7

Part of a series or song cycle:

Sieben Lieder von Elisabeth Kulmann (Op. 104)

Gekämpft hat meine Barke

Wohl kurz vor ihrem Ende gedichtet. Ihr baldiger Tod scheint ihr gewiss; nur der Gedanke an die zurückbleibende Mutter macht ihr Schmerz, den tiefsten.
Gekämpft hat meine Barke
Mit der erzürnten Flut.
Ich seh’ des Himmels Marke,
Es sinkt des Meeres Wut.
Ich kann dich nicht vermeiden,
O Tod nicht meiner Wahl!
Das Ende meiner Leiden
Beginnt der Mutter Qual.
O Mutterherz, dich drücke
Dein Schmerz nicht allzu sehr!
Nur wenig Augenblicke
Trennt uns des Todes Meer.
Dort angelangt, entweiche
Ich nimmer mehr dem Strand,
Seh’ stets nach dir und reiche
Der Landenden die Hand.

My barque has struggled

Probably written shortly before her death. She seems certain of her imminent end; only the thought of the mother she leaves behind causes her profound pain.
My barque has struggled
With the angry sea.
I can see the heavens,
The ocean’s rage abates.
I cannot avoid you,
O death I did not choose!
When my suffering ends,
My mother’s grief begins.
O mother, let not sorrow
Oppress you too sorely!
Only for a few moments
Will Death’s sea keep us apart.
Once I have arrived,
I shall never leave that shore,
I shall always look in your direction
And help you land.
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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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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