As with the Dichterliebe (HN 549), Frauenliebe und Leben (HN 547) or the song cycles with texts by Heine and Eichendorff (HN 548 and 550), the Kerner Cycle op. 35 was written in 1840, Schumann’s “Liederjahr”. Yet it has a special place: it was composed in the time immediately following Schumann’s marriage to Clara Wieck.
Schumann set a series of poems to music in November, during a “quiet week, which went by with composing and much loving and kissing”, and the cycle was complete by the turn of the year. It contains a great deal of intimate musical innuendos. The first edition of 1841 was soon followed by a second issue, many of the songs were published individually and the “Wanderlied” soon became a core piece in the repertoire. With this edition the songs in Schumann’s cycle are once again being published together in a single volume.