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The Birds' Lament: No. A little bit in love: from Wonderful Town L. I Faber Music. The real mastery is in the dovetailing of the parts. This mercurial music is certainly more swallow-like cf. Die Schwalben ; there is nothing here that might recall the complacent cooing of doves or pigeons. Whatever the species of bird, this miniature piece of chamber-music-in-an-aviary is a perfect piece of musical joinery, everything tongued and grooved in remarkable fashion.
Yet the music is definitely not wooden in any degree — quite the reverse. Halleluja, Kind Jesus! Take courage, sick and weary soul, Forget your nagging sorrows. O let us pilgrimage to the little child, And ourselves become children in mind and spirit. Hallelujah, Child Jesus! Doch welch ein Schrecken hinterher! Die Glocke kommt gewackelt. The child thinks, the bell is hanging Up there in the belfry. The bell, the bell no longer rings, Mother was talking nonsense.
But what a fright behind the child, The bell comes waddling after 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.
Neither poet nor composer cared very much whether the boy in this fable played truant from church, but it was the role of the educator to foster traditional church-going values in the young. These were seen as necessary to the building of character and conscience in the citizens of tomorrow. After all, asking a child to believe in a walking bell is stretching credulity beyond even the existence of Knecht Ruprecht and Santa Claus. In any case, the story of a bell that walked is hardly conventionally religious — motivated, as it is, by entirely un-Christian superstition.
Goethe uses the story to make a parody of his own ballad style, and Schumann sees the musical possibilities it offers. At first the simplicity of the music seems typical of the more chorale-like items in the collection. This music returns at the end. There is even a moment in the piano-writing that suggests a timpani drum-roll. Entgegen ihm mit Sang, Mit Saitenspiel und Klang!
He comes from the starry spheres, And the only things he has in mind Are gentleness and kindness; The star on his breast Is the star of happiness and joy; He is gracious to everyone, To gentlemen and servants, To the good and the bad, To the wicked and the just — On all he turns a loving eye. But you ask and you know, And whoever knows forgets, This monarch is the spring. Go to him with song And the playing of strings! The king is marching in, The king is here again, You should serve him faithfully With cheerful gaze and countenance: O let the king enter in! The political side of the poem is obvious.
Only King Spring is a king worth revering — he, alone of all monarchs, deserves to be welcomed with enthusiasm, the only king worth serving. And as with all spring songs, the metaphor of the new season implies regime change and a new flowering of hope. And seeds and buds Struggle towards the light, And many a flower blossoms In silence up to heaven. Yes, even the oaks And vines turn green! O heart, let this be your sign: Be joyous and bold!
These are no doubt meant to depict the endless workings of nature beneath the surface — the stirrings within the seed and the flowering of the bud. The actual effect however is more like water under the bridge; the effect is pleasant enough, but a reflective and pensive atmosphere is created which is rather at odds with what the words actually say, nay proclaim. Exactly the same verbal imagery on another day would have produced more exciting results.
Perhaps Schumann cannot help expressing his real feelings about the political tensions which surrounded him as he wrote this music; his hopes for a new season of sunny liberation were tempered by darker fears for the safety of his family.
Hinaus ins Freie!, No. 11, Op. 79 Sheet Music by Robert Schumann
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! This is as near as these birds come to a crisis. In fact, this is so precipitous that the merry little postlude which alternates between dominant and tonic in the home key does not seem like the home key at all. At the end of the song we are left as if suspended in mid-air; the piece just stops after three strophes as if we had suddenly freeze-framed these two swallows in mid-flight, on their way to somewhere else.
The activities of nature carry on for all time, whether we are listening to them or not. It seems obvious that the Schumann children, to whom this song would have been sung, were brought up to believe in their guardian angels. It was certainly considered important that children were brought up to believe in God. Schumann, like Goethe neither were conventionally religious men , would have been shocked by a child who professed atheism. The questioning of conventional religion, in varying degrees of intensity, was commonplace, particularly among artists and intellectuals; but it was a matter of private conscience, and very much for grown-ups.
Then as now, it was entirely normal, even if illogical, for parents who were non-believers themselves to allow their children a Christian upbringing. Few Germans of the time, or Englishmen for that matter, had the courage or inclination to do otherwise. Even the most freethinking parents realized that their children would have to be equipped with the means of going through the motions of a religious observant life, even if they later decided quietly to withdraw from what they considered to be a charade. Abraham Mendelssohn, the father of Felix and Fanny, ensured that his children were baptized as Protestants the denomination prevalent in Berlin because he was all too aware that they would have better prospects in German society as Christians, rather than as Jews.
But this is to digress. The mood of Kinderwacht is Catholic the author of its text was a cardinal , but its angelic sentiments would have appealed to the whole Christian community and probably the Jewish too in both Germany and England. Ihr Matten, lebt wohl, Ihr sonnigen Weiden! Farewell, you meadows, You sunny pastures! The herdsman must leave you, Summer is over. Nostalgia is hardly a feeling with which the young are familiar, but Schumann ascribes this emotion to a young protagonist who, as a student of the seasons, has learned quickly about the sadness associated with the passing of time.
It prophesies the music of Edvard Grieg and his folk-song-inspired evocations of mountain and fjord. In this beautiful and rueful postlude Grieg would have recognized a kindred spirit. Horch [von Fern], ein [leiser] Harfenton! Dich hab ich vernommen. Listen; the [soft] sound of a [distant] harp! It must be you, Spring; it is you I have heard. The song also contains two nicely placed high As which are grateful to sing and invariably draw applause from an audience. The composer clearly indicates that this nine-lined poem is divided into three sections ABA.
Has spring really arrived, or not? Our hopes have been raised before, only to be dashed! In writing gentle, rather hushed beginnings a far cry from the joyous affirmations at the end both Schumann and Wolf in his more famous setting imply cautious optimism rather than immediate conviction.
Flowers have not quite dared to poke their heads above ground. A sudden change of register and a softening of tonality a G7 chord with its distancing F natural announce a new sound so far we have only had the evidence of sight and smell. This is the antique harp which the poet imagines is played by spring, as if the season were personified by a Greek deity.
The crescendo during these is like the quickening of a pulse — Yes! At last we can cut loose and celebrate! Like a ballet dancer lifted by the strength of her partner, the singer is elevated to another high A by the increasing volubility of the piano-writing. The preceding phrase has been within a crescendo, so this outburst now gathers considerable force. Schumann could not know that nearly forty years later Hugo Wolf would compose the definitive setting of this poem, music that would fly around the world, propelled by the rustle of its exciting accompaniment, and its brilliant peroration, a bravura climax for the voice, and a dashing postlude for the piano.
In any case, this is a fault that most listeners can readily forgive. With the possible exception of Mignon, this is the most performed of all the Op 79 songs on the concert platform of today. Sing, sing, maiden, sing, And be of good cheer, Start your spinning cheerily, Conclude it dutifully, Sing, sing, maiden, sing!
Learn, learn, maiden, learn! Praise, praise, maiden, praise, Rehearse for your Creator, So your faith and hope might grow Like your yarn and like your flax. Praise, praise, maiden, praise! Thank, thank, maiden, thank The Lord you are not sick, That you can work this distaff Many a time and oft.
Thank, thank, maiden, thank! Within its own modest limits this is a successful little trio, hardly ever performed in public because of its casting for three female voices. Technology permits Ann Murray to sing both the second and third of these. It should be noted that the composer does mark the second and third voice parts ad libitum, thus allowing for a solo performance, but the musical effect of this is not nearly as satisfying.
The accents on the third and sixth quavers of the bar depict the clacking of the foot-driven machinery. The wide spaces belong to him, Whatever his arrow hits, That is his prey, Be it bird or beast. At the end of the original song the boy complains that his bow-string is broken. He asks his father to fix it for him, and Wilhelm refuses, saying that a real hunter does that for himself.
Hedwig now expresses her disquiet that the boy is learning to shoot at a very early age; Tell replies that he who wants to be a master must begin to practise early. Here is the age-old conflict between a driven man of action and his wife who is trying to preserve the peace of the home in troubled times. Tell explains that it is in his nature to be a hunter, always chasing something in the mountain wilds; Hedwig roundly rebukes him for his insensitivity and thoughtlessness. This is a musical companion-piece for the rather similar Uhland setting Des Knaben Berglied bp.
Fanfare and dotted rhythms in both pieces symbolize youthful bravery and the determination of boys to play their roles as men, and as early as possible. The music is simple and completely strophic — the springing dotted rhythms could well describe a sure-footed mountain hunter leaping from rock to rock in pursuit of his prey.
The words make clear that it is the freedom of this hunting life that is most relished by those who live it. The whole theme of Wilhelm Tell is, of course, that this freedom is threatened by the Austrians. Every German schoolchild would have known about the heroic son, Walther Tell, who stood calmly while his father was compelled to shoot an apple off his head. Later in the play Wilhelm Tell kills Gessler, the villain who has devised this cruel game.
Hinaus ins Freie | Oxford Lieder
The same old princes, foremost among them the Austrian chancellor Metternich, employed a cynical Realpolitik. Certainly Schiller was not considered relevant enough by Schumann to figure in any of the songs composed in his great lieder year of O komm geschwind! O come quickly! The wood is ringing Springtime in. Come without delay! The mixture of sunlight and cold air is to be felt in the temperature of this music. The last traces of a light snowfall from the day before speckle the ground, but we fancy we now see flowers where there have only been granules of ice.
A succession of melting phrases depicts … melting. These are the conditions for the emergence of snowdrops, flowers which are lured above ground by even a hint of a change of season. The tiny little accompanying phrase which sets the seal on the song is the most miniature of postludes — a metaphor for evaporation, the disappearance of a twinkling drop of dew in a glint of sunlight — the highest note of the piece reserved for the very last. I see what is far, I see what is near, The moon and the stars, The wood and the deer.
Kennst du das Haus? Kennst du es wohl? Kennst du den Berg und seinen Wolkensteg? Kennst du ihn wohl? Do you know the house? Columns support its roof, Its great hall gleams, its apartments shimmer, And marble statues stand and stare at me: What have they done to you, poor child? Do you know it? It is there, it is there I long to go with you, my protector. Do you know the mountain and its cloudy path?
It is there, it is there Our pathway lies! O father, let us go! This world-famous lyric set by Beethoven, Schubert, Wolf and Liszt, among many others is a hymn to Italy. Non-German soil is a rarity in Op 79; the two Schiller settings are Swiss — and thus honorary German — and the two Zigeunerlieder might take place in Spain or England. In the first strophe Mignon remembers the orange and lemon trees native to a kinder climate; she longs for the warmth and fragrance of the South.
The third verse describes the frightening and difficult trek across the mountains between Italy and Germany. She has been kidnapped and she is being taken northwards.
Liederalbum für die Jugend, Op.79 (Schumann, Robert)
She can only remember the perilous mountain passes with the stumbling donkeys, sheer rock faces, cascading cataracts and imagined dragons. These beseeching semiquavers are a portrait of Mignon herself as described by Goethe. In this music she looks longingly into the distance, and in vain; she gazes heavenward in hope and is then downcast in disappointment. She has the fiery temperament of an Italian, and the diffidence of a wounded child who has suffered much.
This is all to be heard in these four bars which rise and fall chromatically, encompassing the contradictions of her character. Like a luxuriantly overgrown garden the texture of the music thickens and intensifies. With the exception of an interrupted cadence which is the special feature of the link between the second and third verses, all three strophes are introduced by the same prelude. This requirement is perhaps in the age-old tradition of the strophic song, but one cannot help feeling that in simply expecting his performers to become more intense with each verse, Schumann is abdicating some of his responsibilities as a composer.
The performers must do what they can, within the confines of the music, to depict the various images of the second and third verses: the icy stare of the statues with their hollow voices in the second, the might of nature in the third verse, as well as the menacing brood of dragons. I advise the former for the first two verses, the latter for the dragon of the final verse — this contributes to the gradual increasing of intensity the composer asks of his singer and pianist. The postlude is a tiny and vulnerable thing.
A fragment of the Vorspiel is repeated only the first five notes. And then the first four notes of the vocal line are heard pianissimo in the right hand. This is like a final question dying in the distance, a solitary signpost leading nowhere. The way this work ends with a whispered little plea is surely the sign of a dying confidence that the composer felt in his own destiny.
If this is the composer welcoming children to an adult world it is a muted reception. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Don't show me this message again. Graham Johnson piano. Both singers are natural storytellers with a twi Allegretto 2 Frage, Op. Gigue 1 Kleine Studie Op. An die Nachtigall 1 Mai, lieber Mai Op. Bedeckt mich mit Blumen 1 Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. Allegro molto vivace 5 Symphony No. View all new releases.