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Geisternähe (1850) Op. 77 no.3

Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder und Gesänge, iii (Op. 77)


Was weht um meine Schläfe
Wie laue Frühlingsluft,
Was spielt um meine Wangen
Wie süsser Rosenduft?
Es ist dein holder Gedanke,
Der tröstend mich umspielt,
Es ist dein stilles Sehnen,
Was meine Schläfe kühlt!
Und was wie Harfen klänge
Um meine Sinne schwirrt,
Mein Name ist’s, der leise
Von deinen Lippen irrt.
Ich fühle deine Nähe!
Es ist dein Wunsch, dein Geist,
Der mich aus weiter Ferne
An deinen Busen reisst.

Close in spirit

What drifts around my brow
Like a gentle Spring breeze,
What plays around my cheeks
Like the sweet scent of roses?
It is your dear thoughts
That comfortingly play about me,
It is your silent yearning
That cools my brow!
And the harp-like murmuring
In my mind
Is my own name softly
Escaping your lips.
I feel your presence!
It is your desire and spirit,
Drawing me from afar
Close to your heart.
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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Baron Eligius Franz Joseph von Münch-Bellinghausen (German: Eligius Franz Joseph Freiherr von Münch-Bellinghausen) was an Austrian dramatist, poet and novella writer of the Austrian Biedermeier period and beyond, and is more generally known under his pseudonym Friedrich Halm.
He was the son of a district judge at Kraków in Poland, at this time part of the Austrian Empire. Early in his literary career he adopted the nom de plume of Friedrich Halm ("Halm" means a blade of grass or a blade of straw), and became one of the most popular dramatists in Vienna around the middle of the 19th century. His novellas are now regarded as more significant from a literary point of view than his dramatic writings.

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