Robert Schumann: “Dichterliebe (Op. 48)” – Heinrich Heine’s “The Poet’s Love”

To honor Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s 84th birthday on May 28, Karen L, FiDiTanzer528, uploaded in Four Parts Robert Schumann’s hauntingly beautiful Song Cycle, “Dichterliebe (Op. 48).

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

This performance comes from Fischer-Dieskau’s debut solo recital at the Salzburg Festival on August 13, 1956. His partner at the piano is Gerald Moore.


“Dichterliebe”, ‘The Poet’s Love’ (composed 1840), is the best-known song cycle of Robert Schumann (Op. 48). The texts for the 16 songs come from the “Lyrisches Intermezzo” of Heinrich Heine, composed 1822-1823, published as part of the poet’s “Das Buch der Lieder”.

The very natural, almost hyper-sensitive poetical affections of the poems are beautifully mirrored in Schumann’s settings, with their miniaturist chromaticism and suspensions. The poet’s love is a hothouse of nuanced responses to the delicate language of flowers, dreams and fairy-tales. Schumann adapts the words of the poems to his needs for the songs, sometimes repeating phrases and often rewording a line to supply the desired cadence.

Notes from Wikipedia. Below, excerpt of the Heine poems, translation by Paul Hindemith.


From old fairy tales beckons
To me a white hand,
Where there is a singing and sounding
Of a magical land,
Where multicolored flowers bloom
In golden twilight,
And glow lovely and fragrant
With their bridal visage,
And where green trees sing
Primeval melodies;
Where breezes sound secretly,
And birds warble,
And mist-figures rise
From the earth
And dance airy round-dances
In an odd chorus,
And blue sparks burn
On every leaf and twig,
And red lights run
In a mad, chaotic circle,
And loud springs break
Out of wild marble stone,
And in the streams–oddly–
Shine forth the reflections.
Ah! If I could enter there
And indulge my heart
And give up my agony
And be free and holy!
Ah! This is the land of bliss
That I see so often in a dream,
But when the morning sun comes,
It melts like mere froth.