DaisyFieldMusicChamber Music Schumann's Fünf Stücke im Volkston Search

Daisyfield Chamber Music

About Schumann's "Fünf Stücke im Volkston"

Back to chamber music 

Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
Fünf Stücke im Volkston (5 Pieces in Popular Style)

Robert Schumann

Cello part corrected to remove false treble clef.  (Get piano part from Petrucci Music Library website IMSLP.org)

mus  pdf  xml  2011-02-09

Composer: Robert Schumann

Title: "Fünf Stücke im Volkston" ("5 Pieces in Popular Style")

Robert Schumann, circa 1850 Click to enlarge (28kb)


Robert Schumann (1810-1856) wrote this work in 1849.  It consists of five delightful short pieces for cello and piano, in the form of songs without words.

The first of the five pieces appears to be inspired by Goethe's poem "Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!", since this movement is labeled "Vanitas vanitatum: Mit Humor", and rhythmically follows the meter of Goethe's poem.  However no lyric is printed in the score or in the parts.  (See below for public domain text of Goethe's poem, with English translation.)  The other songs have no such suggestive title, only tempo indications.  Maybe you would like to name them yourself!

The five songs are labeled:

  1. Vanitas vanitatum: Mit Humor (Vanity of Vanities: With Humor)
  2. Langsam (Slow)
  3. Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen (Not quick, to be played with much feeling)
  4. Nicht zu rasch (Not too quickly)
  5. Stark und markirt (Strong and emphatic)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1808 or 1809 Click to enlarge (36kb)

The cello and piano part may be downloaded from the Petrucci Music Library website IMSLP.org.  The cello part makes frequent use of false treble clef, that is, treble clef to be read an octave lower than written.  To make the cello part more accessible, I have completely re-typeset the cello part in Finale 2007 to eliminate false treble clef.

Text of Goethe's "Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!"

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) wrote the poem "Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!" in 1806 as a parody of the church hymn "Ich hab' mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt" ("I have placed all I have with God") by Johann Pappus (1549-1610).  The text of Goethe's poem is as follows:

Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Vanity of Vanities
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring (1826–1911) and Paul Carus (1852-1919)

Ich hab' mein Sach auf Nichts gestellt,
Drum ist's so wohl mir in der Welt;
Und wer will mein Camerade sein,
Der stosse mit an, der stimme mit ein,
Bei dieser Neige Wein.


My trust in nothing now is placed.
So in the world true joy I taste.
Then he who would be a comrade of mine
Must clink his glass, and in chorus combine
And drink his cup of wine.


Ich stellt' mein Sach auf Geld und Gut,
Darüber verlor ich Freud' und Muth;
    O weh!
Die Münze rollte hier und dort,
Und hascht ich sie an einem Ort,
Am andern war sie fort!


I placed my trust in gold and wealth,
But then I lost all joy and health,
Both here and there the money rolled,
And when I had it here, behold.
There disappeared the gold!


Auf Weiber stellt' ich nun mein Sach,
Daher mir kam viel Ungemach;
    O weh!
Die Falsche sucht' sich ein ander Theil,
Die Treue macht' mir Langeweil',
Die Beste war nicht feil.


I placed my trust in women next,
How sorely was I thereby vexed,
The False another lover sought,
The True with tediousness was fraught,
The Best could not be bought.


Ich stellt' mein Sach auf Reis' und Fahrt,
Und liess meine Vaterlandesart;
    O weh!
Und mir behagt' es nirgends recht,
Die Kost war fremd, das Bett war schlecht,
Niemand verstand mich recht.


I took to travel and started to roam,
Cast off the habits of my home,
But not a single thing seemed good,
The beds were bad, and strange the food,
And I not understood.


Ich stellt’ mein Sach auf Ruhm und Ehr,
Und, sieh!, gleich hatt’ ein Andrer mehr;
    O weh!
Wie ich mich hatt’ hervorgethan,
Da sahen die Leute scheel mich an,
Hatte Keinem recht gethan.


In honor trusted I and fame,
Another put me straight to shame,
And when I had achieved advance
The people looked at me askance.
With none I had a chance.


Ich setzt’ mein Sach auf Kampf und Krieg,
Und uns gelang so mancher Sieg;
Wir zogen in Feindes Land hinein,
Dem Freunde sollt's nicht viel besser sein,
Und ich verlor ein Bein.


I placed my trust in war and fight,
We gained full many a victory bright,
Into the foeman's land we crossed,
Alas, though, at our triumph's cost!
For there a leg I lost.


Nun hab’ ich mein Sach auf Nichts gestellt,
Und mein gehört die ganze Welt;
Zu Ende geht nun Sang und Schmaus.
Nur trinkt mir alle Neigen aus;
Die letzte muss heraus!


In nothing now my trust shall be,
And all the world belongs to me,
And as we end our feast and strain,
The cup we'll to the bottom drain;
Let nowhere dregs remain!



Nowadays the word markirt (part of the performance instruction for Schumann's 5th song) is spelled markiert.


Büchmann, Georg; Robert-tornow, Walter Heinrich;and Ippel, Eduard; Geflügelte Worte: der Zitatenschatz des deutschen Volkes, Volume 1, Edition 22, Haude & Spenerschen, Berlin, 1905 (871 pages).  In books.google.com. [See p. 193.]

Carus, Paul, Goethe: with special consideration of his philosophy, Open court publishing company, Chicago and London, 1915 (357 pages).  In books.google.com.  [See pp. 340-343 for Goethe's poem and English translation].

"Johann Wolfgang von Goethe", Wikipedia article.

Kühlewein, Wilhelm and Bohner, Theodor, Beiträge zu einem Goethe Wörterbuch,
Volume 6 of Zeitschrift für deutsche Wortforschung: Beiheft, K.J. Trübner, 1904 (192 pages).  In books.google.com.  [See note on page 148 for history of Goethe's poem "Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!".].

Schumann, Robert, Fünf Stücke im Volkston, parts for cello and piano, downloaded from Petrucci Music Library website IMSLP.org.

Kügelgen, Gerhard von, 1772-1820, 1809 (approximate) portrait of Goethe, via Wikimedia Commons, from Tartu University Library website.

1850 (approximate) photo of Robert Schumann from Wikimedia Commons.

Contact:  feedback@DaisyField.com