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Songs

Songs

Weihnachtslied (1849) Op. 79 no.16


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op. 79)


Weihnachtslied

Als das Christkind ward zur Welt gebracht,
Das uns von der Hölle gerettet,
Da lag’s auf der Krippe bei finstrer Nacht,
Auf Stroh und Heu gebettet;
Doch über der Hütte glänzte der Stern,
Und der Ochse küsste den Fuss des Herrn.
Halleluja, Kind Jesus!
Ermanne dich, Seele, die krank und matt,
Vergiß die nagenden Schmerzen.
Ein Kind ward geboren in Davids Stadt
Zum Trost für alle Herzen.
O lasst uns wallen zum Kindlein hin,
Und Kinder werden in Geist und Sinn.
Halleluja, Kind Jesus!

Christmas Carol

When the Christ Child, who saved us from Hell,
Was brought into the world,
He lay in his crib when the night was dark,
With straw and hay for bedding;
But the star was shining above the hut,
And the ox kissed the feet of the Lord.
Hallelujah, Child Jesus!
Take courage, sick and weary soul,
Forget your nagging sorrows.
A child was born in David’s town
To comfort every heart.
O let us pilgrimage to the little child,
And ourselves become children in mind and spirit.
Hallelujah, Child Jesus!
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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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

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories, called eventyr in Danish, express themes that transcend age and nationality.

Andersen's fairy tales, which have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. Some of his most famous fairy tales include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "Thumbelina", and many more.

His stories have inspired ballets, both animated and live-action films, and plays.


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About Oxford Lieder

Oxford Lieder is one of the world's leading promoters of song and the winner of a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award. The focal point of each year is the two-week Oxford Lieder Festival in October.

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