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Himmel und Erde (1850) Op. 96 no.5

Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder und Gesänge, iv (Op. 96)

Himmel und Erde

Wie der Bäume kühne Wipfel
Zu des Lichtes Höhen streben!
Wie der Berge greise Gipfel
In des Himmels Wolken schweben!
Wie im Mai der Wiesen Blühen
Mit des Äthers Blau verschwimmet!
Wie der Wälder herbstlich Glühen
In des Frührots Licht verglimmet!
O so seid ihr denn Verwandte,
Himmel du und Mutter Erde!
Freudig trag ich irdsche Bande,
Da ich dein, O Himmel, werde!

Heaven and earth

How boldly the treetops
Reach up to the light of heaven!
How the grey mountain peaks
Soar up to heaven’s clouds!
How in May the meadow flowers
Mingle with the sky’s blue!
How the autumn glow of the woods
Fades into the light of the dawn!
So are you then both related,
O heaven and mother earth!
My earthly fetters I bear with joy,
Since, heaven, I shall be yours!
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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