Frauenliebe 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, Franz Paul Lachner and Robert Schumann. The setting by Schumann (his opus 42) is now the most widely-known.
Schumann wrote his setting in 1840, a year in which he wrote so many lieder (including three other song cycles: Liederkreis Op. 24 and Op. 39, Dichterliebe), that it is known as his "year of song". There are eight poems in his cycle, together telling a story from the protagonist first meeting her love, through their marriage, to his death. They are:
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