Joseph Christian Freiherr von Zedlitz (1790-1862)

Portrait, wood engraving, 1862 (StadtMuseum Bonn)
Portrait, wood engraving, 1862 (StadtMuseum Bonn)

The Austrian writer von Zedlitz was part of the successful poets of his time. Schumann met him in person during his first stay in Vienna. Von Zedlitz was also a guest at the Schumanns’farewell morning performance in January 1847, where numerous eminent persons of the Viennese society had gathered. At that time, Schumann also dealt with the work of the politically active poet, as can be seen from the entries in his reading booklet (Totenkränze [Funereal Wreaths] and Waldfräulein [Forest Maid], in his Poet’s Garden (Guter Rath [Good Advice] and Totenkränze) and in his transcriptions of poems. Schumann set two of the poems - Ungewisses Licht[Uncertain Light] and Nach oben musst Du blicken [You Should Look Upwards] – to music in 1849 in Vier doppelchörige Gesänge für gemischten Chor a cappella [Four Double Choir Part Songs for mixed choir a cappella], Op. 141/2-3, which were published with Kistner in Leipzig and referred to the bloody May uprising in Dresden. The piece Die nächtliche Heerschau [The Night-time Review] – an homage to Napoleon – remained a fragment and was printed posthumously as WoO 11/3 in 1897.

Sigrid Lange, translated by Thomas Henninger

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