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Die nächtliche Heerschau (1840) WoO11 no.2

Die nächtliche Heerschau

Nachts um die zwölfte Stunde
Verlässt der Tambour sein Grab,
Macht mit der Trommel die Runde,
Geht emsig auf und ab.
Mit seinen entfleischten Armen
Rührt er die Schlägel zugleich,
Schlägt manchen guten Wirbel,
Reveill’ und Zapfenstreich.
Die Trommel klinget seltsam,
Hat gar einen starken Ton;
Die alten, todten Soldaten
Erwachen im Grab davon.
Und die im tiefen Norden
Erstarrt in Schnee und Eis,
Und die in Welschland liegen,
Wo ihnen die Erde zu heiss;
Und die der Nilschlamm decket
Und der arabische Sand,
Sie steigen aus ihren Gräbern,
Und nehmen’s Gewehr zur Hand.

Nocturnal roll-call

Each night at the stroke of twelve
The drummer rises from his grave,
Goes the rounds and beats his drum
Busily up and down.
His skeleton arms
Brandish the drum-sticks
And beat many a fine roll—
Reveille and retreat.
The drum rings out strangely
With a mighty sound;
The old, dead soldiers
Awaken in their graves;
And those who perished in the North,
Frozen in ice and snow,
And those who died in Italy,
Where the earth is burning hot;
And those who lie in the Nile’s mud
And beneath the Arabian sand—
They rise from their graves
With rifles in their hand.
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.

Taken from wikipedia. To read the rest of the article, please click here.

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Joseph Christian Freiherr von Zedlitz (Baron Joseph Christian von Zedlitz) was an Austrian dramatist and epic poet.

His wife died 1836, and 1837 he was nominated by the foreign service to work for the Foreign Office. He was sent as representative of the Austrian imperial court to the principalities of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Nassau, Braunschweig, Oldenburg and Reuss.

He was also a good friend of Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff.

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