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Die wandelnde Glocke (1849) Op. 79 no.17


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op. 79)


Die wandelnde Glocke

Es war ein Kind, das wollte nie
Zur Kirche sich bequemen,
Und sonntags fand es stets ein Wie,
Den Weg ins Feld zu nehmen.
Die Mutter sprach: die Glocke tönt,
Und so ist dir’s befohlen,
Und hast du dich nicht hingewöhnt,
Sie kommt und wird dich holen.
Das Kind, es denkt: die Glocke hängt
Da droben auf dem Stuhle.
Schon hat’s den Weg ins Feld gelenkt,
Als lief’ es aus der Schule.
Die Glocke, Glocke tönt nicht mehr,
Die Mutter hat gefackelt.
Doch welch ein Schrecken hinterher!
Die Glocke kommt gewackelt.
Sie wackelt schnell, man glaubt es kaum;
Das arme Kind im Schrecken,
Es läuft, es rennt, als wie im Traum;
Die Glocke wird es decken.
Doch nimmt es richtig seinen Husch
Und mit gewandter Schnelle,
Es eilt durch Anger, Feld und Busch
Zur Kirche und Kapelle.
Und jeden Sonn- und Feiertag
Gedenkt es an den Schaden,
Läßt durch den ersten Glockenschlag
Nicht in Person sich laden.

The Walking Bell

A child there was who never would
Agree to go to church,
And every Sunday would find a way
Of escaping to the fields.
His mother said: the church bell’s ringing,
And so you are commanded,
And if you’ve not grown used to it,
The bell will come and fetch you.
The child thinks, the bell is hanging
Up there in the belfry.
And already he’s heading for the fields,
As though running out of school.
The bell, the bell no longer rings,
Mother was talking nonsense.
But what a fright behind the child,
The bell comes waddling after him.
It waddles fast, it’s beyond belief;
The poor child, in its terror,
Runs as though he’s in a dream;
The bell’s about to smother him.
But he runs in the right direction,
And with swift agility
Hurries across field and mead and bush
To the church and to the chapel.
And every Sunday and feast day
He remembers the misadventure,
Obeys the first stroke of the bell,
Without waiting to be summoned.
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

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist. A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Karl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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