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Songs

Songs

Frühlingslust (1850) Op. 125 no.2


Part of a series or song cycle:

Fünf heitere Gesänge (Op. 125)


Frühlingslust

Nun stehen die Rosen in Blüte,
Da wirft die Liebe ein Netzlein aus,
Du schwanker, loser Falter,
Du hilfst dir nimmer heraus.
Und wenn ich wäre gefangen
In dieser jungen Rosenzeit,
Und wär’s die Haft der Liebe,
Ich musste vergehen vor Leid.
Ich mag nicht sehen und sorgen;
Durch blühende Wälder schweift mein Lauf.
Die lustigen Lieder fliegen
Bis in die Wipfel hinauf.

The joy of spring

The roses now are blooming,
Love now spreads its little net,
Frail fluttering butterfly,
You will never escape.
And if I were caught
In this young time of roses,
Though love itself were the prison,
I would die of sorrow.
I was not made for looking on in sorrow;
My way lies through blossoming woods.
My airy songs fly up
To the treetops.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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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

Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse was a distinguished German writer and translator. A member of two important literary societies, the Tunnel über der Spree in Berlin and Die Krokodile in Munich, he wrote novels, poetry, 177 short stories, and about sixty dramas. The sum of Heyse's many and varied productions made him a dominant figure among German men of letters. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910 "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories." Wirsen, one of the Nobel judges, said that "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe." Heyse is the fifth oldest laureate in literature, after Doris Lessing, Theodor Mommsen, Alice Munro and Jaroslav Seifert.
 

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