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Unterm Fenster (1840) Op. 34 no.3

Part of a series or song cycle:

Vier Duette (Op. 34)

Unterm Fenster

Wer ist vor meiner Kammertür?
Ich bin es!
Geh, schier dich fort, was suchst du hier?
Gar Süsses!
Du kommst im Dunkeln wie ein Dieb.
So fang mich!
Du hast mich wohl ein wenig lieb?
Von Herzen!
Und öffnet ich nach deinem Wunsch?
O öffne!
Da wär ja Schlaf und Ruhe hin!
Lass hin sein!
Ein Tauber du im Taubenschlag?
Beim Täubchen!
Du girrtest bis zum hellen Tag?
Wohl möglich!
Nein, nimmer lass ich dich herein!
Tu’s dennoch!
Du stelltest wohl dich täglich ein?
Mit Freuden!
Wie keck du bist und was du wagst!
So darf ich?
Dass du’s nur keiner Seele sagst!
Gewiss nicht!

Beneath the window

Who is at my bedroom door?
It’s me!
Be off with you, what d’you want here?
Something very sweet!
You’ve come in the dark just like a thief.
Why not catch me, then?
Don’t you love me just a little?
With all my heart!
And what if I opened the door as you ask?
Open it!
That would be the end of sleep and rest!
Let them be!
Are you a dove in a dovecote?
With its mate!
Will you coo until dawn?
Most likely!
No, I’ll never let you in!
Do it all the same!
I’ll bet you’d want to come each day?
I’d love to!
How presumptuous and brazen you are!
Then may I?
As long as you don’t tell a soul!
Of course not!
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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Robert Burns , also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.

As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne" is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and "Scots Wha Hae" served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include "A Red, Red Rose", "A Man's a Man for A' That", "To a Louse", "To a Mouse", "The Battle of Sherramuir", "Tam o' Shanter" and "Ae Fond Kiss".

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