Monday, May 09, 2011

Frauenliebe und Leben

Poetry from Frauenliebe und Leben, the song cycle by Robert Schumann *

Since I saw him

Since I saw him 
I believe myself to be blind, 
where I but cast my gaze, 
I see him alone. 
as in waking dreams 
his image floats before me, 
dipped from deepest darkness, 
brighter in ascent. 

All else dark and colorless 
everywhere around me, 
for the games of my sisters 
I no longer yearn, 
I would rather weep, 
silently in my little chamber, 
since I saw him, 
I believe myself to be blind.

*Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman's Love and Life) is a cycle of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso, written in 1840. They describe the course of a woman's love for her man, from her point of view, from first meeting through marriage to his death, and after. Selections were set to music as a song-cycle by masters of German Lied, namely Carl Loewe, Franz Paul Lachner and Robert Schumann. I attended a performance of the setting by Schumann (his opus 42) sung by Jennifer Johnson Cano yesterday at the Chicago Opera Theater.

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