Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866)

Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) Steel engraving by Karl Moritz Lämmel, around 1850 (StadtMuseum Bonn, SMB 2012/170)
Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) Steel engraving by Karl Moritz Lämmel, around 1850 (StadtMuseum Bonn, SMB 2012/170)

Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866)
Steel engraving by Karl Moritz Lämmel, around 1850
(StadtMuseum Bonn, SMB 2012/170) More than fifty compositions by Schumann were inspired by Friedrich Rückert’s poetry, including 20 opus numbers. Schumann set Rückert’s poetry to music for the first time in 1840 in the lieder cycle Myrten [“Myrtles”] Op. 25. He dedicated this work, printed in 1841, to his wife Clara for her birthday. Rückert also received a copy and thanked Schumann in return with a little poem which Schumann had later sent to himself at the sanatorium in Endenich. A face-to-face encounter between Schumann and Rückert occurred in Berlin in 1844.

Other lieder settings of Rückert poems are found in Liebesfrühling [“Spring of Love”] Op. 37, written together with Clara, in Minnespiel [“Amorous Play”] Op. 101, and in Adventlied [“Advent Songs”] Op. 71. They also form the poetic background of Bilder aus dem Osten [“Pictures from the East”] Op. 66, as expressly pointed out by Schumann in the preliminary note to the printed version. A planned Requiem after Rückert failed to materialise. Schumann’s personal copy of the second part of Rückert’s Gesammelte Gedichte [“Collected Poems”], published in Frankfurt in 1843, contains a handwritten list of texts which the composer considered suitable for being set to music.


Sigrid Lange, translated by Thomas Henninger

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