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Songs

Songs

Die Spinnerin (1852) Op.107 no.4


Part of a series or song cycle:

Sechs Gesänge (Op.107)


Die Spinnerin

Auf dem Dorf in den Spinnstuben
Sind lustig die Mädchen.
Hat jedes seinen Herzbuben,
Wie flink geht das Rädchen!
Spinnt jedes am Brautschatz,
Dass der Liebste sich freut.
Nicht lange, so gibt es
Ein Hochzeitsgeläut!
Kein’ Seel’, die mir gut ist,
Kommt mit mir zu plaudern;
Gar schwül mir zu Mut ist,
Und die Hände zaudern.
Und die Tränen mir rinnen
Leis übers Gesicht.
Wofür soll ich spinnen,
Ich weiss es ja nicht!

The Spinster

Each of the village girls sits in her room,
Happy at her spinning-wheel.
Each has her sweetheart;
How briskly the wheels turn!
Each is spinning her wedding dress
To please her true lover;
Before long there’ll be
Wedding bells.
But no friend comes
To talk with me;
I sit in sad despair,
And my hands falter.
And the tears silently run
Down over my cheeks.
What need for me to go on spinning?
I cannot tell.
Translation by Eric Sams

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

Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse was a distinguished German writer and translator. A member of two important literary societies, the Tunnel über der Spree in Berlin and Die Krokodile in Munich, he wrote novels, poetry, 177 short stories, and about sixty dramas. The sum of Heyse's many and varied productions made him a dominant figure among German men of letters. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910 "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories." Wirsen, one of the Nobel judges, said that "Germany has not had a greater literary genius since Goethe." Heyse is the fifth oldest laureate in literature, after Doris Lessing, Theodor Mommsen, Alice Munro and Jaroslav Seifert.
 

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