Frauen-Liebe und Leben

Frauen-Liebe und Leben (A Woman's Love and Life) is a cycle of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso, written in 1830. 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 (1836), Franz Lachner (c1839), and Robert Schumann (1840). The setting by Schumann (his opus 42) is now the most widely known.

Adalbert von Chamisso in 1831

Chamisso's poemsEdit

There are nine lyrics in the cycle, to which Chamisso gave the title Frauen-Liebe und Leben. It was first published in 1830,[1] and twice in 1831 in the first editions of his poetry, and of his complete works.[2][3]

Schumann in his cycle did not set the final stanza of No. 2 ('Er, der Herrlichste von allen') with its sudden change of mood. He also left out the last poem, No. 9 'Traum der eignen Tage', which is addressed to the now aged protagonist's granddaughter ("Tochter meiner Tochter"). Loewe set all nine poems in full, although only the first seven were published together.


The original published titles of the poem-cycle and the song-cycles are:

  • Chamisso (1830): Frauen-Liebe und Leben
  • Loewe (1836): Frauenliebe
  • Lachner (c1839): Frauenliebe und -leben
  • Schumann (1840): Frauenliebe und Leben

The Schumann work has been edited and published several times since 1840, and all the current reliable music publishers[4] still use the original 1840 published title, Frauenliebe und Leben, as do a majority of secondary sources discussing Schumann's song cycle.[5] However, Frauenliebe und -leben has been used in a minority (approximately one third) of recently published secondary sources,[6] and also on some LP and CD covers. This latter spelling is a 'correct' style of written German using the ergänzungsstrich (i.e. suspended or hanging dash in a list of things),[7] although it does not accurately reflect the work's published title.

Schumann's settingEdit

Robert Schumann in 1839. Lithograph by Joseph Kriehuber

Schumann composed his setting, Frauenliebe und Leben in 1840, his "year of song" in which he wrote numerous lieder and three other complete song cycles: Liederkreis, Op. 24, Liederkreis, Op. 39 and Dichterliebe, Op. 48. There are eight poems in his cycle, together telling a story from the protagonist's first meeting her love, through their marriage, to his death. They are:

  1. 'Seit ich ihn gesehen' ("Since I saw him")
  2. 'Er, der Herrlichste von allen' ("He, the noblest of all")
  3. 'Ich kann's nicht fassen, nicht glauben' ("I cannot grasp or believe it")
  4. 'Du Ring an meinem Finger' ("You ring upon my finger")
  5. 'Helft mir, ihr Schwestern' ("Help me, sisters")
  6. 'Süßer Freund, du blickest mich verwundert an' ("Sweet friend, you gaze")
  7. 'An meinem Herzen, an meiner Brust' ("At my heart, at my breast")
  8. 'Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan' ("Now you have caused me pain for the first time")

Schumann's choice of text was very probably inspired in part by events in his personal life. He had been courting Clara Wieck, but had failed to get her father's permission to marry her. In 1840, after a legal battle to make such permission unnecessary, he finally married her.

The songs in this cycle are notable for the fact that the piano has a remarkable independence from the voice. Breaking away from the Schubertian ideal, Schumann has the piano contain the mood of the song in its totality. Another notable characteristic is the cycle's circular structure, in which the last movement repeats the theme of the first.

The composer's initial MS sketches, dated 11 July 1840, are still extant. They mostly outline the voice part on single staves, with just a few bars of piano postlude at the very end of No. 8.[8]


There have been many recordings of Schumann's setting.

Possibly the first was that of

During the 1930s the principal versions were those of

Recordings by

are noticed in 1951.[12]

These recordings are listed on CD in 1996:[17]

Loewe's settingEdit

Carl Loewe

Carl Loewe's Frauenliebe, for mezzo-soprano and piano, was published as his opus 60 in 1836.[18] He called it a Liederkranz ('wreath [or garland] of songs'), rather than a Liederkreis ('song-cycle').

Although Loewe set all nine of Chamisso's poems in September 1836,[19] only the first seven were published together during his lifetime.[20] No. 9, 'Traum der eignen Tage', was published separately in 1869,[21] and No. 8 remained in MS until 1904 when it was included in the Breitkopf & Härtel complete edition of his works.[22]


Lachner's settingEdit

Franz Lachner (l.) with Schubert (centre) and Eduard von Bauernfeld at a heuriger in Grinzing

Franz Lachner (1803–1890) made a setting entitled Frauenliebe und -leben for soprano, horn (or cello) and piano as his Op. 59 (c1839); he made another arrangement for soprano, clarinet and piano, published in 1847 as his Op. 82.[23]

Like Schubert's Auf dem Strom, D. 943, it is part of the small repertoire of solo vocal music ensemble with horn. Lachner's youngest brother, Vincenz Lachner, wrote a song 'Waldhornruf' (Hunting horn call') for tenor, horn and piano.[24]


  • Evelyn Tubb (soprano), Lesley Schatzberger (clarinet), Richard Burnett (fortepiano) - Classicprint CPV005CD.
  • Aríon Trio (Andrea Weigt, soprano; Stefan Henke, horn; Rainer Gepp, piano), Antes Edition BM CD 31.9120.


  1. ^ Hallmark, Rufus (2014). Frauenliebe und Leben: Chamisso's Poems and Schumann's Songs. Music in Context. Cambridge University Press. p. 111. ISBN 9781107002302.
  2. ^ Complete modern text: Chamisso, Adelbert von. "Frauen-Liebe und Leben" (in German). Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  3. ^ Chamisso, Adelbert von (1831). Gedichte von Adelbert von Chamisso (in German). Leipzig: Weidmann'sche Buchhandlung. pp. 11–22. NB Set in Fraktur (Gothic) type.
  4. ^ The list as of January 2020 includes Breitkopf und Härtel, Edition Peters (Urtext edition), Bärenreiter, G. Henle Verlag, and Universal Edition. The Peters 'old edition' used Frauen-Liebe und Leben, and a modern reprint of that edition uses Frauenliebe und -leben.
  5. ^ a b See this article's talk page.
  6. ^ See search on WorldCat for "Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856. Frauenliebe und Leben" and [5].
  7. ^ "Ergänzungsstrich". BeoLingus. Retrieved 11 December 2017. See also de:Viertelgeviertstrich#Ergänzungsstrich on German Wikipedia.
  8. ^ "Music Manuscripts Online: Frauenliebe und Leben (Sketches)". The Morgan Library and Museum. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2017. NB Select 'Zoom view', to change pages use the l.h. menu and click on 'fol. 1v', 'fol. 2r' (verso/recto) etc.
  9. ^ Reissued on LP, HMV Treasury RLS 1547003, with booklet by Leo Riemens and William Mann, 1983.
  10. ^ R. D. Darrell, The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (New York 1936).
  11. ^ E. Gerhardt, Recital (Methuen, London 1953), 180.
  12. ^ E. Sackville-West and D. Shawe-Taylor, The Record Year (Collins, London 1951), 538.
  13. ^ EMG Review January 1951. EMG, The Art of Record Buying 1960 (EMG, London 1960).
  14. ^ A Complete List of HMV, Columbia, Parlophone and MGM Long Playing records up to June 1955 (EMI, London 1955).
  15. ^ EMG Review July 1958. EMG, The Art of Record Buying 1960 (EMG, London 1960).
  16. ^ EMG Review June 1958. EMG, The Art of Record Buying 1960 (EMG, London 1960).
  17. ^ I. March, E. Greenfield and R. Layton, Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (Harmondsworth 1996 edition)
  18. ^ Loewe, Carl (1904). "Frauenliebe : Liederkranz von Adalbert von Chamisso". In Runze, Max (ed.). Carl Loewes Werke, Band XVII: Liederkreise. Gesamtausgabe der Balladen, Legenden, Lieder und Gesänge (in German). Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel. pp. 32–60. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  19. ^ Loewe 1904, p. vii.
  20. ^ e.g. Loewe, Carl (n.d.) [1837]. Frauenliebe : Liederkranz von Adalbert von Chamisso. Berlin: H. Wagenführ. OCLC 67186316. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  21. ^ Loewe 1904, p. 58.
  22. ^ Loewe 1904, p. 56.
  23. ^ "Frauenliebe und -leben, Op 82: Introduction". Hyperion. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  24. ^ Lachner, Vincenz. Waldhornruf. Badische Landes-bibliothek (BLB) (in German). Retrieved 1 September 2017.

External linksEdit