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Bei Schenkung eines Flügels (1853) WoO26 no.4

Bei Schenkung eines Flügels

Die Orange und Myrthe hier
Und rings der Blumen Zier,
Und in der Mitte ein Flügel fein,
Das muß wohl von meinem Liebsten sein.
Er sei Dir werth; wie schön sie blüht,
Die Blume verblüht; was tiefer glüht,
Du hegst es im Herzen auf tiefem Grund;
Die Kunst sie bleib Dir werth!
Und kann ich nicht immer bei dir sein,
Eil’ dann zum Freund u. denke mein!
Doch denk’ ich daß wir in allen Tagen
All Leid und Freud zusammentragen.

The gift of a grand piano

Oranges and myrtles adorn the lid,
Wreathed around with delicate flowers—
With a grand piano at the centre;
That must be a gift from my love.
May he be worthy of you; she blossoms in beauty,
The flower’s blossom fades; a deeper glow
Is borne by you deep in your heart;
May art remain worthy of you!
And when I cannot always be with you,
Hasten then to your friend and think of me!
Yet I think that we shall always
Bear all joy and suffering together.
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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