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Songs

Songs

Kinderwacht (1849) Op.79 no.21


Part of a series or song cycle:

Lieder-Album für die Jugend (Op.79)


Kinderwacht

Wenn fromme Kindlein schlafen gehn,
An ihrem Bett zwei Englein stehn,
Decken sie zu, decken sie auf,
Haben ein liebendes Auge drauf.
Wenn aber auf die Kindlein stehn,
Die beiden Engel schlafen gehn,
Reicht nun nicht mehr der Englein Macht,
Der liebe Gott hält selbst die Wacht.

Watching over children

When good children go to sleep,
Two little angels stand by their beds,
They tuck them in and tuck them up,
And keep a loving eye on them.
But when the children get up,
Both the angels go to sleep,
If the angels’ strength is now not enough,
The good Lord himself keeps watch.
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

Melchior, Freiherr von Diepenbrock was a German Catholic Prince-Bishop of Breslau and Cardinal.

He attended the military academy at Bonn and took part in the campaign against France in 1815 as an officer of the militia. Upon his return he was much attracted by the personality of Johann Michael Sailer, a friend of the family, at that time professor at the University of Landshut in Bavaria, and studied public finance at that institution. When Sailer was made Bishop of Ratisbon, Diepenbrock followed him there, took up the study of theology, and was ordained priest 27 December 1823.

In 1835 he was made dean of the cathedral and vicar-general by the successor of Bishop Sailer. His knowledge of modern languages and his administrative ability, together with his understanding of the interior life and his ascetical character, paved the way for his elevation to the episcopal See of Breslau, to which he was elected on 15 January 1845. He at first declined the honor, but finally accepted out of obedience to the mandate of Pope Gregory XVI.

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