Programme of Ceremonial Presentation of the Schumann Forum
Lieben Sie Schumann?
Do You Like Schumann?
Le piace Schumann?
Le Gusta Schumann?
Saturday, 8th October 2011, 19.00 hours
Festival Room of the University of Bonn, Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Dr. Ingrid Bodsch, Project management of the Schumann-network
Jürgen Nimptsch, Mayor of the city of Bonn
Robert Schumann / Franz Liszt: Widmung (Myrthen op. 25, Nr. 1, in the transcription for piano by Franz Liszt)
Mizuka Kano, piano
Conversation between the Cologne-based music journalist Christopf Vratz and Christian Gerhaher
about the singer’s adoration for Schumann
Robert Schumann: Klaviersonate fis-Moll op. 11
Mizuka Kano, Klavier
Presentation of the Schumann-Forum and the Schumann-Journal:
Dr. Ingrid Bodsch und Dr. Irmgard Knechtges-Obrecht, Board member of the Roberst-Schumann-Societey Düsseldorf
Robert Schumann: Zart und singend
(Davidsbündlertänze op.6, Heft II, Nr. 5)
To the compositions
Robert Schumann /Franz Liszt: Widmung [Dedication] (Myrthen [Myrtles]
Op. 25, No. 1 in the transcription for piano by Franz Liszt)
Franz Liszt, whose 200th birthday falls on 22nd October and who is of prime importance for the reception of Beethoven in Beethoven’s native town of Bonn, arranged, along with 21 transcriptions of his own lieder, over 140 lieder of other composers for piano, particularly of Franz Schubert (55), 19 of Beethoven, but also 12 lieder of Robert and/or Clara Schumann, including Widmung, the opening piece of lieder collection Myrthen, dedicated to “his beloved bride”,in which Schumann chose a poem from Friedrich Rückert’s Liebesfrühling [Spring of Love] as the text for his Widmung (I.B.).
Robert Schumann: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor op. 11
I. Introduzione. Un poco Adagio – Allegro vivace II. Aria III.Scherzo e Intermezzo.Allegrissimo – Lento IV.Finale. Allegro un poco maestoso.
The history of Robert Schumann’s first piano sonata dates back to 1832 when he created a “Fandango pour le Piano”, possibly to impress his teacher, Friedrich Wieck. As the latter was apparently pleased by this composition, it was planned during summer 1832 to have it printed, but, unfortunately, to no avail. Instead, Schumann now used the “Fandango” as the precursor to the Allegro part in the first movement of his piano sonata op. 11 the conception of which gradually took shape in 1833. Over the course of that year, the sonata was ”ziemlich fertig gemacht” [“pretty much completed”] but, in fact, it attained its pre-final shape two years lateronly. At the end of August 1835, he submitted the manuscript of his new work to Clara Wieck, the future dedicatee, but the publication first failed. The work appeared just under a year later in June 1836 in Leipzig with publisher Friedrich Kistner, after Schumann had made some changes to the last movement. The title page said “Pianoforte-Sonate, Clara zugeeignet von Florestan und Eusebius” [“Sonata for Pianoforte, dedicated to Clara by Florestan and Eusebius”].
Schumann did not provide his own name but, instead, the names of two figures with contrasting characters invented by himselfand thus concealing the author’s identity. This was an extraordinary gesture which could be accounted for not leastby the young composer’s insecurity vis-à-vis the public and the well-disposed critics. But it was Schumann’s overall life situation,most particularly, thatwas of importance at the time. The more his love for the young Clara Wieck was growing, the more her ambitious father Friedrich was eyeing the relationship between his talented daughter and the young and little renowned musician. At the time of publication of Schumann’s piano sonata op. 11, father Wieck had just banned any relationship between the two. Up until summer 1837, he shielded his daughter in such a rigorous manner that establishing any contact with Schumann was rendered absolutely impossible for her. Yet Schumann sent Clara a copy of his sonata upon whereupon she, presumably under pressure, returned all his letters to him and requested her own ones to be given back to her. The ardent longing and excruciating passion of this early love, quite obviously doomed, were also reflected in the composition of this first piano sonata. Through Florestan and Eusebius, Schumann was thus hoping to achieve what he was otherwise prevented from and not allowed to, and deployed the sonata somehow as the ambassador of his feelings. The emotional component inherent in op. 11 has indeed an underlying meaning. The ardent and almost aggressive Florestan alternates with the lyric and gentle Eusebius character, thus truly corresponding to the composer’s own ambivalent disposition. A few years later, shortly before the longed-for marriage with Clara in September 1849, Schumann wrote to his former teacher, Heinrich Dom:
“Gewiß mag von den Kämpfen, die mir Clara gekostet, manches in meiner Musik enthalten ... sein. Das Concert [op. 14], die Sonate [op. 11], die Davidsbündlertänze, die Kreisleriana und die Novelletten hat sie beinah allein veranlaßt.” ‘[“Some of the struggling which Clara caused to meis certainly reflected in my music. The Concert [op. 14], the Sonata [op. 11], the Davidsbündlertänze, the Kreisleriana and the Novelletten were almost entirely inspired by her.”]
One will hardly discover the classical sonata form in the first movement of the Sonata in F sharp minor Op. 11, as here other aspects come to the fore. Quotation-like reminiscences, paired with closely connected themes, blend the four individual movements of the sonata into one. To start with, the calm introduction cannot be compared with other slow introductions of a traditional style. It will show only later on that this initial part already contains all the motivic and thematic elements that are so crucial for the entire sonata. A general pause furnished with a fermata leads to the Allegro vivace whose spirited principal theme dominates the first movement. A rather solemn side thought in E flat minor is granted a very brief appearance only. Schumann shapes the development widely and with steady dramatic increase, in which a motif from the original “Fandango” is also given a prominent place.
The second movement with the suggestive title of Aria goes back to the lied “An Anna” [“To Anna”], composed in 1828 already and telling about unfulfilled love. Its wistful and melancholic flow refers this movement entirely to Eusebius’ sphere. In the following movement, Scherzo e Intermezzo,Schumann gain takes up material from earlier compositions that had remained unpublished. Out of his “XII Burlesken (Burle) im Stil der Papillons” [“Twelve Burlesques [Burlesque Pieces of Music] in the Style of the Butterflies”], written in 1832, a few were integrated into the Intermezzo in op. 11. This resolute and partly bizarre movement further stands out with two trios of a contrasting layout. The finale, Allegro un poco maestoso, is a real pianistic bravura, full of fancy and brilliant ideas. A dramatic coda finishes the work with a grandiose conclusion. (Quoted from: Irmgard Knechtges-Obrecht für das www.schumannportal.de, Heading“Robert Schumann/Einführungen zu ausgewählten Werken” [Robert Schumann / Introduction to Selected Works])
Robert Schumann: Zart und singend [Tender and singing] (Davidsbündlertänze [Dances of the League of David]. 18 Mood Pieces for PianoOp. 6, Book II No. 5)
„Und hier sei noch eines Bundes erwähnt, der ein mehr als geheimer war, nämlich nur in dem Kopf seines Stifters existirte“[“May I just mention here another league which was more than secret, namely only existing in its founder’s mind”], Schumann wrote in 1852 in the introduction to his Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und Musiker [Collected Writings about Music and Musicians], referring to the fictitious Davidsbund [League of David], created by himself.This was acircle of like-minded musicians, named after the patron of music, whose literary contributions Schumann published together with his own ones in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [New Journal of Music], established in 1834, with the aim of fighting the philistines in the field of music. The two main characters of the League of David, vigorous and dynamic Florestan and subtle and introvert Eusebius, were two imaginary figures often drawn on by Schumann, through whom he spelled out the contrasting sides of his own character and his double role. [...]
Like most of the works created at that time, the composition of the Davidsbündlertänze was directly inspired by the personal circumstances of their author. Arenewed contact by letter with Clara Wieck, now possible again, allowed Schumann to draw new hope, leading to the two of them becoming secretly engaged in August 1837. This meant a formidable new lease of life for Schumann, which was translated into his work and creativity immediately. This is how at least 19 pieces were written in late summer 1837, of which Schumann had 18 pieces published in the Davidsbündlertänze op. 6 later on. The characters of Florestan and Eusebius show in all their contrariness: Humorous scenes alternate with musing passages, or buoyantly cheerful scenes with lyrical and contemplative passages. Each piece, marked F.(lorestan) or E.(usebius), is attributed at the end to one or both of them.[Zart und singend is marked E.]
Schumann wrote about the close relationship between the Davidsbündlertänze and his fiancée Clara in a letter addressed to her: “In den Tänzen sind viele Hochzeitsgedanken [...] Was aber in den Tänzen steht, das wird mir meine Clara herausfinden, der sie mehr wie irgend etwas von mir gewidmet sind – ein ganzer Polterabend nähmlich ist die Geschichte [...] War ich je glücklich am Clavier, so war ich es, als ich sie componirte” [“There a many wedding thoughts included in the dances […] But what is written in the dances will be discovered by my Clara to whom they are dedicated more than to anything of myself – the story is notably about an entire wedding-eve party […] If ever I have been happy, this was when I composed it”]
The Davidsbündlertänze appeared in two books at the beginning of 1838, at Schumann’s own expense, through publisher Robert Friese in Leipzig, who was also the editor of Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. A second edition was printed with Schuberth & Co. in Hamburg in 1850/51, but without the references to Florestan and Eusebius in the scores and in the title. The dedication in the original edition is “Walther von Goethe zugeeignet von Florestan und Eusebius” [“Dedicated to Walther von Goethe by Florestan and Eusebius”]. The dedicatee was the grandson of the poet, who was a musician himself and belonged to the circle of the Davidsbündler consisting of painters, literary figures and musicians. (Quoted from: Irmgard Knechtges-Obrecht für das www.schumannportal.de, Heading “Robert Schumann/Einführungen zu ausgewählten Werken”)