Friedrich Leopold, Graf zu Stolberg-Stolberg was born in Denmark. He worked on various literary ventures with his brother Christian; they were thus forerunners of such fraternal collaborations as the Schlegels, Grimms and Goncourts. Both Stolberg brothers as admirers of Klopstock were members of the Göttingen Hainbund. They travelled to Switzerland in 1775 with Goethe who found them disturbingly unruly. In 1781 Friedrich married Agnes von Witzleben, the muse of his poetry. It was on their honeymoon that he wrote Auf dem Wasser zu singen and dedicated it to her ('für meine Agnes'). Stolberg worked for a time as a diplomat, and as far afield as Russia, but the adventures of his youth yielded to an ultra-conservative attitude in politics and a conversion to catholicism. He who had earlier been an enthusiastic translator of Homer chastised Schiller for the type of 'pagan' poetry. Schubert made nine Stolberg settings.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1991
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