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Die Schwalben (1849) Op. 79 no.20

Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op. 79)

Die Schwalben

Es fliegen zwei Schwalben ins Nachbar sein Haus,
Sie fliegen bald hoch bald nieder;
Aufs Jahr, da kommen sie wieder,
Und suchen ihr voriges Haus.
Sie gehen jetzt fort ins neue Land,
Und ziehen jetzt eilig hinüber;
Doch kommen sie wieder herüber,
Das ist einem jeden bekannt.
Und kommen sie wieder zu uns zurück,
Der Bauer geht ihnen entgegen;
Sie bringen ihm vielmal den Segen,
Sie bringen ihm Wohlstand und Glück.

The Swallows

Up and down two swallows fly
Into the house next door,
In a year they’ll be back again
Seeking their former home.
Now they set out for pastures new,
And hasten across the sky,
But they will be back here again,
As everybody knows.
And when they return to us again,
The farmer will go to meet them,
They bring him blessings in abundance,
Good fortune and prosperity!
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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