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					Schumann

9/26/2006 12:20:00 PM

Biography  German Composer  Parents sent him off to study law  Enrolled in law school, but liked piano and music  Piano teacher was Friedrich Wieck o This is how he ended up meeting Clara  Got in trouble with his fourth finger o Completely lost use of his left hand fourth finger  Machine – hooked each finger up to a clamp  Turn the machine – each finger is lifted up o Destroyed his fourth finger o Very bad for him, very good for us Turned to composing – married the best pianist of his century Wrote Neue Zietshrift fur Music – “New Magazine for Music” – very famous through out Europe o Founded in 1834 o Had all of issues o Used this for a variety of things – to promote good music and voice his thoughts about what is good music o Philistines – (Composers he didn’t think were good)  Just flashy composers o David’s Band – (Composers he liked)  Schumann and composers using good techniques At 26, fell in love with Clara (15 years old) Father didn’t want Clara to marry Robert Stormy period – on and off Married when Clara was 21 – Robert was 30 Mental Instability o Was a serious issue back in the 19th century o Not ever talked about o Schizophrenia – had multiple personalities o Placed in an asylum for the last 2 years of his life Death o Died at age 46 – became very ill at 42 o Brahms became a platonic friend of Clara after Robert’s death

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Works

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Op. 1-23 – All Piano o Characteristics / Style Traits  Published in groups  Some must be played individually, some in complete groupings  Many have descriptive titles  Sudden emotional contrast – mood shifts very quick  Rhythm is very important in Schumann – lots of cross rhythms, hemiola, syncopation is a big deal  Lots of leaps Lots of wonderful melodies Piano pieces sound orchestral in concept, like Beethoven (thick chords, not like Chopin)  Yet the writing is pianistic  Interesting pedal effects o Descriptions  Op. 1 – Abegg Variations  Refers to the 5 notes A, Bb, E, G, G  Written for Meta Abegg – childhood girlfriend     Inverts the theme Op. 2 – Papillons (Butterflies)  Reading a story, butterflies came out of the book  12 pieces in this set and a one line introduction  Every piece is a triple meter dance  About a masked ball - 2 brothers love the same woman  The clock strikes 6pm and the guests go home  Many of the pieces are 2 lines Last variation – theme was a popular tune of the day – “Großvater lied”  Musical quotes – throws in from another piece  Special effects – pedal – release Op. 6 – Davidsbundlertänze (18 Characteristic Pieces)  First piece (F and E)  Second piece (E)  Third piece (F) 

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 Quote – motto von C.W. (Clara Wieck)  18 Dances  Must be played straight through Op. 7 – Toccata  Subtitle – “Fantastic Etude in Double Notes”  2 Weird Things about this piece  Published in C major  Originally written in D major  Form is unusual – you would think ABA o Sonata Form Op. 9 – Carnaval (Little Scenes on 4 notes)  Must be played in its entirety  Many of these are dances  Another masked ball  4 Letters – A.S.C.H.  Ernestina von Fricken  Asch, Germany  Sphinxes (3 versions of these letters) o SCHumAnn (Eb, C, B, A) o As CH (Ab, C, B) – Lettres Dansantes, Chiarina, Estrella, Reconnaissance, Pantalon et Colombine, Valse Allemande, Promenade, March of David’s Band vs. the Philistines o A SC H (A, Eb, C, B) – Arlequin, Valse noble, Eusebius, Florestan, Coquette, Papillons o Don’t play this part   o H – b natural, S – E flat, As – A flat Preambule  Presto section doesn’t feel in 3 – feels in 2 Pierrot  Commedia dell’ arte (Italian troup)  He’s a clown – very clumsy (haha.) Arlequin  The next clown (A, Eb, C, B)

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 Uses a sphinx Valse noble  Has it’s place at the masked ball – it’s a dance Eusebius  Dreamy alter-ego Florestan  Uses the sphinx, crazy Coquette  Must be played directly from Florestan (attaca)  Flirtatious  Uses a sphinx again Replique  Uses a motive from Coquette Sphinxes Papillions Lettres dansantes (ASCH SCHA) Chiarina  Clara – the most passionate piece  Age 15 at the time Chopin  Sounds like the type of melody Chopin would write Estrella  Another name for Ernastina Reconnaissance (Recognition) Pantalon et Colombine  Man and Women clown Valse Allemande  German Dance Paganini  Virtoustic  Like a violin piece  Uses harmonics near the end Aveu (Consent)

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 Lots of rubato Promenade  Quotes his Op. 6 piece Pause  Goes straight into the next piece March of David’s Band vs. the Philistines  A ¾ March  In a funny sort of way, it is in 4/4 time – if you think of it as a phrase  Left hand – m. 51 – quotes from Papillon 

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Animato section quotes from the Preamble (m. 83-91)  M. 147-154 – goes to 4 flats – Grandfather song  M. 179-186 – Quotes  Piu Streeto – is the same as the preamble Presto section  Ab forever at the end Op. 12 – Fantasy Pieces (Fantasystucke) 8 separate pieces Evening Song (feels in 3 or 6)  Notated in 2/8 – left hand is clearly in 2  Right hand sounds in 3  Soaring  Extreme change of moods Op. 13 – Symphonic Etudes  Etudes, but still a complete work  Also a theme and variations    Only etude with these characteristics  Theme is by Ernestina’s father  12 variations all together  Really Hard! Op. 15 – Kinderszenen – (Scenes for Childhood)  Pieces about childhood, not easy  Require good phrasing, interpretation  Played by children and concert pianists

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 #7 – most famous – Dreaming Op. 16 – Kreisleriana  Dedicated to his friend Chopin  Considered his finest work  8 pieces that need to be played as a set  Opera - Tales of Hoffman – Offenbach  Kreisler is a character written by Hoffman  A music conductor in one of Hoffman’s tales  Also a pseudonym that Hoffman used when he wrote music reviews Op. 17 – Fantasy – 3 movements  Written as part of the fundraiser for a Beethoven monument (Liszt)  Ruins – Ancient Glory  Triumphal Arch – Final Victory o Exciting o Most treacherous leaps  The Starry Crown – About the Human Soul o More subdued Op. 18 – Arabesque  Beautiful Piece Op. 22 – Sonata No. 2 in g minor  First Movement (As Fast as Possible)  Coda – Faster, Coda of the Coda – Even Faster Op. 26 - Carnival from Vienna  Five Movement Sonata  Written after he visited Vienna Op. 28 – Three Romances  2nd one is played quite frequently  Written by Eusiebus Op. 54 - Piano Concerto in A Minor  First Movement – written the year Clara and Robert married  Third Movement – very boisterous Op. 68 – Album for the Young  43 Pieces

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 In general, easier than Scenes from Childhood  Intended to be played by children  Excerpts Written between 1829-39 1840 – “The year of the song” for Schumann o Got Married o 3 Song Cycles are from that time period o First movement of piano concerto written that year 1841+ o Focused on orchestral and chamber works Florestan and Eusebius o 2 alter-egos that Schumann invented o 3 ways represented in Schumann  Articles were written by one of these two in the magazine  Some compositions were written by some of these people  Also appear as characters in his pieces o Florestan – fiery, impetuous (extrovert)

o Eusebius – dreamy, introspective (introvert) o Both of these imaginary characters belonged to David’s Band  Literary characters o Father was a bookseller o Schumann read all of the time o Quotes and enigmas are found in his music Considered the most “romantic”

9/26/2006 12:20:00 PM

9/26/2006 12:20:00 PM


				
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