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Schwanengesang, D744

Schwanengesang, D744

„Wie klag’ ich’s aus
„das Sterbegefühl,
„Das auflösend
Durch die Glieder rinnt?
„Wie sing’ ich’s aus
„das Werdegefühl,
„Das erlösend
„Dich, o Geist, anweht?“
Er klagt’, er sang
Bis das Leben floh.
Das bedeutet des Schwanen Gesang!

Swan song

'How shall I express
This sense of death,
The dissolution
That flows through my limbs?
How shall I sing
This sense of life
That redeems you, O spirit,
With its breath?'
It lamented, it sang,
Fearful of extinction,
Rapturously transfigured,
Until life ebbed away.
That is the swan's song!

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Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

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Johann Chrysostomus Senn was a political lyric poet of the Vormärz.

Johann Senn was the son of the freedom fighter, Franz Michael Senn.

He lived in Vienna from 1807 and attended the Akademische Gymnasium. He was a pupil of the Wiener Stadtkonvikt along with Franz Schubert. He later studied philosophy, law und medicine, none of which he managed to complete. He became a teacher to Baron Anton von Doblhoff-Dier.

From 1815, his interest in politics grew ever more strident. Members of his circle included the composer Schubert, the poet Johann Mayrhofer, the lawyer and later Redemptorist Franz von Bruchmann, the artist Leopold Kupelwieser and the doctor Ernst von Feuchtersleben.

In 1820, Senn was arrested for his revolutionary ideas and imprisoned for almost a year. He was then deported to Tyrol and never returned to Vienna.

He spent eight years there in military service, rising to the position of lieutenant. He was unable to enjoy a middle-class career and lived out the rest of his days in Innsbruck working either as a Tagschreiber or in the offices of regional administration.

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