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96 Gateway to German Lieder

Die Lotosblume Robert Schumann (18101856)


The Lotus
Poetic Background
She is a tender flower, who responds only to love that is quiet and gentle.
The sacred lotus, often seen in Hindu and Buddhist art, grows in water
and sends up a large pink or white flower on a single stalk.
 
" !# )!"
" Heine read a Sanskrit play, Sakontala, by Kalidasa (5th century),
1. Die Lotosblume ngstigt
translated into German by H. G. Forster in 1791. Forsters explanatory
The lotus-flower is-afraid
notes about the play contain this passage about the lotus: . . . it is the
flower of the night, the cooling flower, that is afraid when the day
(
   (   &"
appears, that is afraid of the stars, that only opens up to the moon, gives
2. Sich vor der Sonne Pracht,
its fragrance only to the moon, and lowers its head before the rays of the
(-) before the suns splendor,
sun. Heine transformed this passage into a poem of three stanzas.
This poem, written sometime in 1822, is closely related to another
" 
" ( )" "
Heine poem, Auf Flgeln des Gesanges, which is the text of a song by
3. Und mit gesenktem Haupte
Mendelssohn. The commentary to that song, found on page 75, tells
and with lowered head
more about Heines interest in India and about his peculiar way of imag-
ining that certain people resembled certain flowers and plants. It also
$ "" ( " ,"  &"
tells about his collection of poems called Lyrical Intermezzo, in which
4. Erwartet sie trumend die Nacht.
this is the tenth poem.
awaits she, dreaming, the night.
Lines 12: ngstigt sich is a verb with its reflexive pronoun, which
must always be in close proximity. An actor would never think of paus-
 " 
!"  #
ing between the two words. Because of the odd fact that Schumann
5. Der Mond, der ist ihr Buhle,
imposed a rest after ngstigt, the singer must create, by any possible
the moon, he is her lover,
means, a psychological link between the first two phrases.
Line 5: The first edition of the poem has Der Mond, das ist. . . but
 $ " ( 
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"
later editions use the more normal grammar. Buhle is an archaic word
6. Er weckt sie mit seinem Licht,
for lover, usually an extramarital lover.
he wakes her with his light,
Musical Background
"  "  " (  ,"
 Composed in February, 1840, this is another song that was included in
7. Und ihm entschleiert sie freundlich Myrthen, Roberts wedding gift to Clara. (Please read more about
and to-him unveils she, friendly, Myrthen on page 85.) In this poem the shy flower obviously symbol-
izes a young woman and the moon her gentle lover. Eric Sams says,
  ! #(
" The sheer depths of devotion revealed in this song are almost frighten-
8. Ihr frommes Blumengesicht. ing. The idea of the unveiled bride is the secret source of the music.
her worshipful flower-face. A three stanza poem like this is often set to music in a three-part form
(ABA), but Schumann avoids the obvious and gives each stanza new
( '" " '" "  ,"" music. The first ends on the dominant of the main key (m9). Using a
9. Sie blht und glht und leuchtet, modulation with the common tone in the voice, the second stanza begins
She blooms and glows and shines in the key of the lowered sixth, and it moves to the tonic key without
reaching a perfect cadence. The deceptive cadence in m17 gives the third
" " " "
  , stanza an ambiguous beginning. After a long detour to the subdominant
10. Und starret stumm in die Hh; key, the voice finally reaches a tonic cadence in m25. Even then the tonic
and stares silently into the heights; note is not in the bass until the final resolution in m27. The long delay in
reaching the tonic clearly symbolizes the pain of love.
( "" " $" " "!
" " Notice that the vocal melody is sometimes doubled by inner chord
11. Sie duftet und weinet und zittert tones in the piano. In m25 the piano echoes what the singer sang in the
she perfumes and weeps and trembles previous measure although the notation obscures the fact.

  " !$ Sources


12. Vor Liebe und Liebesweh. Text: Tragdien, nebst einem lyrischen Intermezzo. Berlin, 1823.
for love and loves-pain. Lyrisches Intermezzo was also a section of Buch der Lieder, 1827. This
version: Heine Skularausgabe, Gedichte, 18121827, vol. 1., Berlin:
Heinrich Heine (17971856) Akademie-Verlag, 1979.
Music: Myrthen, Opus 25, no. 7. Leipzig: Kistner, 1840. Original key: F.
Gateway to German Lieder 97

Die Lotosblume
H. Heine Robert Schumann
(Range: C4 G5)
Ziemlich langsam 
a

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Die Lo - tos - blu - me ng - stigt


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sich vor der Son - ne Pracht, und mit ge - senk - tem Haup - te er -

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war - tet sie tru-mend die Nacht. Der Mond der ist ihr Buh - le, er
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a Rather slowly. Suggestion:  = ca. 104




Translation: The lotus flower is afraid of the suns magnificence; she bows her head and waits dreamily for the night to
come. The moon is her favorite lover; his
98 Die Lotosblume
12

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weckt sie mit sei - nem Licht, und ihm ent - schlei- ert sie freund - lich ihr
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nach und nach schneller 
16
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from - mes Blu - men-ge - sicht. Sie blht und glht und leuch - tet, und
nach und nach schneller

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20
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star - ret stumm in die Hh; sie duf - tet und wei - net und zit-tert vor

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24
ritard.
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Lie - be und Lie - bes - weh, vor Lie - be und Lie - bes-weh.

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b Little by little faster. The accelerando continues to m23.

light wakens her, and she gladly reveals her worshipful flower face. She blooms and glows and gleams and gazes silently
upward; she gives off fragrance, weeps, and trembles from love and the pain of love.