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Songs

Songs

Die Waise (1849) Op.79 no.14


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op.79)


Die Waise

Der Frühling kehret wieder,
Und alles freuet sich,
Ich blicke traurig nieder,
Er kam ja nicht für mich.
Was soll mir armen Kinde
Des Frühlings Pracht und Glanz?
Denn wenn ich Blumen winde,
Ist es zum Totenkranz.
Ach! keine Hand geleitet
Mich heim ins Vaterhaus,
Und keine Mutter breitet
Die Arme nach mir aus.
O Himmel, gib mir wieder,
Was deine Liebe gab—
Blick ich zur Erde nieder,
So seh ich nur ihr Grab.

The Orphan Girl

Spring comes again
And everything rejoices.
I look downcast,
It has not come for me.
What am I, poor child, to make
Of spring’s splendour and radiance?
For if I twine flowers,
It will be for a funeral wreath.
Ah! there is no hand to guide me
Back to a father’s house,
And no mother to hold out
Her arms towards me.
O Heaven, give me back
What your love once gave—
If I look down at the earth,
Their grave is all I see.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben  was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs, considered part of the Young Germany movement.

Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben in Lower Saxony, then in the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The son of a merchant and mayor of his native city, he was educated at the classical schools of Helmstedt and Braunschweig, and afterwards at the universities of Göttingen and Bonn. His original intention was to study theology, but he soon devoted himself entirely to literature. In 1823 he was appointed custodian of the university library at Breslau, a post which he held till 1838. He was also made extraordinary professor of the German language and literature at that university in 1830, and ordinary professor in 1835. Hoffmann was deprived of his chair in 1842 in consequence of his Unpolitische Lieder (1840–1841, "Unpolitical Songs"), which gave much offence to the authorities in Prussia.

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