Schumann Speculation

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
maestrob
Posts: 7893
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Schumann Speculation

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:39 pm

November 26, 2010
To Listen To Schumann, Bring a CouchBy YAEL BRAUNSCHWEIG
AND you were feeling overwhelmed by the 118 different diagnoses recently tallied for Mozart’s final illness? Consider Robert Schumann, whose bicentennial is being celebrated this year and whose medical history has occasioned even more impassioned debate.

Though Schumann, who died in 1856 at the age of 46, has received fewer diagnoses than Mozart, his case is messier, and the stakes are higher. Discussions of Mozart’s final illness are confined to the physical: infection, cardiovascular disease, kidney function and poisoning. They do not affect our view of his compositions, except for the Requiem, and then only in terms of the circumstances of its commissioning.

For Mozart the medical and the musical remain separate. In Schumann’s case the usual diagnoses have included mental illnesses. Because associations between mental state and creativity are inevitable, stigmas and stereotypes attached to psychiatric illnesses have long influenced the interpretation of Schumann’s music.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/arts/ ... wanted=all

Image

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:31 pm

Schumann's illness has been diagnosed as "deterioration of the nervous system" by Dr. Franz Richarz, who perhaps believed that the composer basically committed suicide through self-starvation. This is based on a relatively new theory.

John Davario explains that he suffered "the symptoms of general paresis" and the depressive disorder that plagued him most of his life.

We can be happy (as with Mozart and Schubert) that he gave us so much right up to the end.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by piston » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:11 pm

Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:32 pm

piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:15 am

Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
That is where you are wrong, Chalkie. Schumann's works are among the most consistently inspired and well-constructed masterpieces in the entire repertoire. Of course, EVERY composer has his/her weaker works---so where lies the unevenness....?!? Or---do you wish I quote "musicology", your nemesis.....?

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:44 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
That is where you are wrong, Chalkie. Schumann's works are among the most consistently inspired and well-constructed masterpieces in the entire repertoire. Of course, EVERY composer has his/her weaker works---so where lies the unevenness....?!? Or---do you wish I quote "musicology", your nemesis.....?

Tschüß,
Jack
In my mind Schumann has more "weak spots" than other Composers...quoting Musicology is useless as it is merely an opinion in your favour, you think he's a genius, I don't... :wink:
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:37 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
That is where you are wrong, Chalkie. Schumann's works are among the most consistently inspired and well-constructed masterpieces in the entire repertoire. Of course, EVERY composer has his/her weaker works---so where lies the unevenness....?!? Or---do you wish I quote "musicology", your nemesis.....?

Tschüß,
Jack
In my mind Schumann has more "weak spots" than other Composers...quoting Musicology is useless as it is merely an opinion in your favour, you think he's a genius, I don't... :wink:
Remember "James"? He couldn't "get" Mozart. Now you've got a unique position here among CMG members, Chalkie: you are the only one who cannot accept one of the greatest of masters. Where are the bashers of Handel, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, etc.?!

That fact alone proves the difficulty of comprehending and evaluating Schumann's music.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:49 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
That is where you are wrong, Chalkie. Schumann's works are among the most consistently inspired and well-constructed masterpieces in the entire repertoire. Of course, EVERY composer has his/her weaker works---so where lies the unevenness....?!? Or---do you wish I quote "musicology", your nemesis.....?

Tschüß,
Jack
In my mind Schumann has more "weak spots" than other Composers...quoting Musicology is useless as it is merely an opinion in your favour, you think he's a genius, I don't... :wink:
Remember "James"? He couldn't "get" Mozart. Now you've got a unique position here among CMG members, Chalkie: you are the only one who cannot accept one of the greatest of masters. Where are the bashers of Handel, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, etc.?!

That fact alone proves the difficulty of comprehending and evaluating Schumann's music.

Tschüß,
Jack
I like some pieces, I even enjoy a couple more, but, I am indifferent to a lot of it...if you had just laid off a bit with your constant referrals to him whenever possible, and your references to Scholars and Musicologists in an attempt to "prove me wrong", you would not have turned me into James, I was happy being Chalkie...now I can't even stand to read his name simply because of you (that is not meant personally of course), although I have been quietly listening to his music lately, as it happens...

This is Classic Jack...savour it...
Jack wrote:Chalkie: you are the only one who cannot accept one of the greatest of masters.
Not content to list him with eleven other (way superoir) Composers I am supposed to consider him "The Greatest of Masters"...give me a break...

Oh, and just for the record, I have been a manic depressive all my life, before it was called Bi-Polar and became trendy, if anybody should understand and sympathize with him I should...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:40 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
piston wrote:Yes, but this article also points to bipolar disorder as a mental condition which could have influenced many if not virtually all of his work.
Which may explain why his work is so uneven...but, it was known back then as Manic Depression, bipolar is a relatively recent term for the same disease...
That is where you are wrong, Chalkie. Schumann's works are among the most consistently inspired and well-constructed masterpieces in the entire repertoire. Of course, EVERY composer has his/her weaker works---so where lies the unevenness....?!? Or---do you wish I quote "musicology", your nemesis.....?

Tschüß,
Jack
In my mind Schumann has more "weak spots" than other Composers...quoting Musicology is useless as it is merely an opinion in your favour, you think he's a genius, I don't... :wink:
Remember "James"? He couldn't "get" Mozart. Now you've got a unique position here among CMG members, Chalkie: you are the only one who cannot accept one of the greatest of masters. Where are the bashers of Handel, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, etc.?!

That fact alone proves the difficulty of comprehending and evaluating Schumann's music.

Tschüß,
Jack
I like some pieces, I even enjoy a couple more, but, I am indifferent to a lot of it...if you had just laid off a bit with your constant referrals to him whenever possible, and your references to Scholars and Musicologists in an attempt to "prove me wrong", you would not have turned me into James, I was happy being Chalkie...now I can't even stand to read his name simply because of you (that is not meant personally of course), although I have been quietly listening to his music lately, as it happens...

This is Classic Jack...savour it...
Jack wrote:Chalkie: you are the only one who cannot accept one of the greatest of masters.
Not content to list him with eleven other (way superoir) Composers I am supposed to consider him "The Greatest of Masters"...give me a break...

Oh, and just for the record, I have been a manic depressive all my life, before it was called Bi-Polar and became trendy, if anybody should understand and sympathize with him I should...
Thanks, Chalkie---for being so open and honest. I am sorry if I offended you and/or your tastes. You are an interesting and beloved figure here on CMG! And you really do know how to liven things up.....

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

hangos
Posts: 983
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:44 pm
Location: England

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by hangos » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:29 am

The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria. With Chopin's rapid sections I don't have any similar problems.
Agin, speaking purely for myself, I have never really warmed to Chopin's Preludes because I hear them as being probably the closest pieces in style to Schumann - or am I talking rubbish (not for the first time) ?
Martin

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:02 am

Jack Kelso wrote: Thanks, Chalkie---for being so open and honest. I am sorry if I offended you and/or your tastes. You are an interesting and beloved figure here on CMG! And you really do know how to liven things up.....

Tschüß,
Jack
No offense taken, Jack, I am open and honest because I am surrounded by friends, and some very dear ones too...yes, I do like to liven the place up a bit, and, without praising myself I do (kind of) know what I am talking about most of the time, my opinions may differ from the norm, but, that's all they are, just an opinion...best...chalkie
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:11 am

hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria.
One thing about Manic Depression is that whilst one does feel incredibly insecure most of the time, one of the downsides is that you do put out stuff (words, music, anything really) that maybe does not jive together properly, i'm relatively sane now, but, trust me there are many things I have done and paths that I have chosen that were, in retrospect, dead wrong, and, although I knew it was wrong I still made those choices...for example putting out Ad's for our Studio that do not have our name on them and definitely no phone number, there is not one photograph in our apartment here in New York and there never has been, there is one single image at the Studio, a Peony that is five feet high, I have also never had my photo taken in the last 30 years and there is virtually nothing about me on the Internet, you have to be a pretty dedicated recluse to pull that one off, especially when you expect the phone to ring each day with lots of jobs to shoot...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Seán
Posts: 5339
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Seán » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:14 am

Chalkperson wrote:
hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria.
One thing about Manic Depression is that whilst one does feel incredibly insecure most of the time, one of the downsides is that you do put out stuff (words, music, anything really) that maybe does not jive together properly, i'm relatively sane now, but, trust me there are many things I have done and paths that I have chosen that were, in retrospect, dead wrong, and, although I knew it was wrong I still made those choices...for example putting out Ad's for our Studio that do not have our name on them and definitely no phone number, there is not one photograph in our apartment here in New York and there never has been, there is one single image at the Studio, a Peony that is five feet high, I have also never had my photo taken in the last 30 years and there is virtually nothing about me on the Internet, you have to be a pretty dedicated recluse to pull that one off, especially when you expect the phone to ring each day with lots of jobs to shoot...
Dear Chalkie, I think that you were caught/photographed (by Ralph) on one of the annual CMG outings. :wink: Unfortunately your happy countenance is no longer available to us, drat! :cry:
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:35 am

Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria.
One thing about Manic Depression is that whilst one does feel incredibly insecure most of the time, one of the downsides is that you do put out stuff (words, music, anything really) that maybe does not jive together properly, i'm relatively sane now, but, trust me there are many things I have done and paths that I have chosen that were, in retrospect, dead wrong, and, although I knew it was wrong I still made those choices...for example putting out Ad's for our Studio that do not have our name on them and definitely no phone number, there is not one photograph in our apartment here in New York and there never has been, there is one single image at the Studio, a Peony that is five feet high, I have also never had my photo taken in the last 30 years and there is virtually nothing about me on the Internet, you have to be a pretty dedicated recluse to pull that one off, especially when you expect the phone to ring each day with lots of jobs to shoot...
Dear Chalkie, I think that you were caught/photographed (by Ralph) on one of the annual CMG outings. :wink: Unfortunately your happy countenance is no longer available to us, drat! :cry:
Aaargh, you are right, I let my guard down at the Meet-Up...oh well...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Werner » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:11 pm

I don't know about Ralph's photos of Chalkie, but I can put my hands on a couple of pictures of Chalkie that I took on a couple of occasions. Not, of course, of the caliber of Chalkie's work - and I think someone did manage to get my latest meetup shots on CMG - I don't remember who did it, or how, and I can't remember how I got to see them on the board - but, Chalkie, do you think I should trade on their rarity in the future?

(I'm not about to go into that business, so you're safe, Chalkie.)
Werner Isler

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Ken » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:22 am

Perhaps we should save speculations about his cause of death for the next significant anniversary of his death in say, perhaps, 2031 (225th anniversary)?

I think the discussions this year should centre instead upon his creations... :-)
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:56 pm

Ken wrote:Perhaps we should save speculations about his cause of death for the next significant anniversary of his death in say, perhaps, 2031 (225th anniversary)?

I think the discussions this year should centre instead upon his creations... :-)
Why, we have many Threads dedicated to that, it is most interesting to read about this development and it has nothing to do with m opinion of his Music, the man tried to commit suicide which is an act that only the person involved can achieve and which always leaves plenty of room for speculation, waiting 21 years to discuss this seems way too precious an idea and goes way too far in terms of Hero Worship...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17669
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 pm

Werner wrote:I don't know about Ralph's photos of Chalkie, but I can put my hands on a couple of pictures of Chalkie that I took on a couple of occasions. Not, of course, of the caliber of Chalkie's work - and I think someone did manage to get my latest meetup shots on CMG - I don't remember who did it, or how, and I can't remember how I got to see them on the board - but, Chalkie, do you think I should trade on their rarity in the future?

(I'm not about to go into that business, so you're safe, Chalkie.)
To be completely honest and truthful, when I turned up at the first meetup and Ralph instantly took a photo of me, I had an anxiety attack that left me virtually speechless for about twenty minutes and I went and hid in the corner of Starbucks for the duration, also, as I have said CMG is a bunch of dear friends so attempting to exclude myself from the photographic activities woud have been wrong, just make sure that those negativess remain in a bank vault... :wink:

PS, I am fully aware that I am...

Nuts
Crazy
Barmy
Loopy
Mad
Insane

Pick whichever one you like, they all apply... :lol:
Last edited by Chalkperson on Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9816
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by karlhenning » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:02 pm

For the record, Chalkie refused to have a picture taken standing beside me ; )

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Werner » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:08 pm

I must admit that speculations of this type don't particularly interest me. Of academic interest, well, perhaps. but this is in line with the periodic speculations about Mozart's diseases, treatment, and cause of death.

At this distance, one thing we know is that they're gone, nothing can change that, and we're left to ebnjoy, or argue about the merits of their legacy.
Werner Isler

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:50 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Werner wrote:I don't know about Ralph's photos of Chalkie, but I can put my hands on a couple of pictures of Chalkie that I took on a couple of occasions. Not, of course, of the caliber of Chalkie's work - and I think someone did manage to get my latest meetup shots on CMG - I don't remember who did it, or how, and I can't remember how I got to see them on the board - but, Chalkie, do you think I should trade on their rarity in the future?

(I'm not about to go into that business, so you're safe, Chalkie.)
To be completely honest and truthful, when I turned up at the first meetup and Ralph instantly took a photo of me, I had an anxiety attack that left me virtually speechless for about twenty minutes and I went and hid in the corner of Starbucks for the duration, also, as I have said CMG is a bunch of dear friends so attempting to exclude myself from the photographic activities woud have been wrong, just make sure that those negativess remain in a bank vault... :wink:

PS, I am fully aware that I am...

Nuts
Crazy
Barmy
Loopy
Mad
Insane

Pick whichever one you like, they all apply... :lol:
Don't worry, Chalkie. None of us is "completely" normal. That would be a true bore!

P.S.: I really never said that Schumann was the "greatest" of masters.....just that he is one of several. :D

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

hangos
Posts: 983
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:44 pm
Location: England

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by hangos » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:09 pm

hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria. With Chopin's rapid sections I don't have any similar problems.
Agin, speaking purely for myself, I have never really warmed to Chopin's Preludes because I hear them as being probably the closest pieces in style to Schumann - or am I talking rubbish (not for the first time) ?
Martin
Chalkie's very honest and interesting "confessions" have apparently distracted fellow CMGers from this question I posted a few days ago ....... does it make any sense to you or strike a chord with anyone? I can't think of any other composer whose music I love and hate depending on its tempo!
Thanks
Martin

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Werner » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:57 pm

Speaking for myself, Martin, I must say that I can't see the connection you make between Chopin's Preludes and Schumann, or the distincrtion you make between Schumann's Florestan and Eusebius sections. It demonstrates to me how very personal and individual our various reactions are to a given work of music. I wonder how many others would react to your interesting post.
Werner Isler

hangos
Posts: 983
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:44 pm
Location: England

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by hangos » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:45 am

[quote="Werner"]Speaking for myself, Martin, I must say that I can't see the connection you make between Chopin's Preludes and Schumann, or the distincrtion you make between Schumann's Florestan and Eusebius sections. It demonstrates to me how very personal and individual our various reactions are to a given work of music. I wonder how many others would react to your interesting post.[/quote]


Werner
Thanks for your reply and the compliment about it being an interesting post - at least we're back on track about how Schumann's possible bipolar disorder might have manifested itself in his music!
I only hope that other CMGers will react, whatever their reactions!
Best wishes
Martin

arthound
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:26 am

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by arthound » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:06 am

hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria. With Chopin's rapid sections I don't have any similar problems.
Agin, speaking purely for myself, I have never really warmed to Chopin's Preludes because I hear them as being probably the closest pieces in style to Schumann - or am I talking rubbish (not for the first time) ?
Martin
Hi Martin

I can relate to your experience with Schumann's piano music - although I am reluctant to connect this with speculation about his mental health.

I have always loved the slow sections but used to struggle with the more energetic movements. However I think this had something to do with the recordings I was listening to. In my opinion the best Schumann players can clearly articulate the frequent changes in rhythm in the fast sections without making the music tip over into angst-ridden noise. This led me to reassess what Schumann was trying to do in these sections - instead of hearing them primarily as outpourings of emotional expression I have become more interested in how Schumann creates his effects through constantly shifting rhythms. In this aspect he reminds me of Stravinsky - not a comparison that springs to mind for most people!

Best,
Justin

hangos
Posts: 983
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:44 pm
Location: England

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by hangos » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:54 pm

Hi Justin
I'm so grateful that you too used to find his faster sections hard to cope with ; which great Schumann pianists do you mean?Your point about shifting rhythms like Stravinsky is very interesting - I do know that several modern composers such as Kurtag have written pieces in homage to Schumann, so his modernity is in little doubt
Thanks again for posting!
Martin
arthound wrote:
hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria. With Chopin's rapid sections I don't have any similar problems.
Agin, speaking purely for myself, I have never really warmed to Chopin's Preludes because I hear them as being probably the closest pieces in style to Schumann - or am I talking rubbish (not for the first time) ?
Martin
Hi Martin

I can relate to your experience with Schumann's piano music - although I am reluctant to connect this with speculation about his mental health.

I have always loved the slow sections but used to struggle with the more energetic movements. However I think this had something to do with the recordings I was listening to. In my opinion the best Schumann players can clearly articulate the frequent changes in rhythm in the fast sections without making the music tip over into angst-ridden noise. This led me to reassess what Schumann was trying to do in these sections - instead of hearing them primarily as outpourings of emotional expression I have become more interested in how Schumann creates his effects through constantly shifting rhythms. In this aspect he reminds me of Stravinsky - not a comparison that springs to mind for most people!

Best,
Justin

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:23 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Werner » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:19 pm

Regarding the question about great Schumann pianists, there are many, current and historically. One name that's not often remembered is Adrian Aeschbacher, a Schnabel pupil who recorded extensively for DG in the Fifties and Sixties, with a special affinity for Schumann and Schhubert.

His "Davidsbündlertänze" drew critical raves in Europe and here when first published. Reissued as KASP 57671, together with the three Romances, op. 28, and the Schubert Moments Musicaux, it drew high praise again. This might be a worthwhile example to check your own reactions.
Werner Isler

arthound
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:26 am

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by arthound » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:58 am

hangos wrote:Hi Justin
I'm so grateful that you too used to find his faster sections hard to cope with ; which great Schumann pianists do you mean?Your point about shifting rhythms like Stravinsky is very interesting - I do know that several modern composers such as Kurtag have written pieces in homage to Schumann, so his modernity is in little doubt
Thanks again for posting!
Martin
arthound wrote:
hangos wrote:The bipolar theory would certainly echo what I for one have always found with Schumann's piano music ; I love the slow sections but find the skittish scherzo sections annoying and even disturbing, like manic chatter verging on hysteria. With Chopin's rapid sections I don't have any similar problems.
Agin, speaking purely for myself, I have never really warmed to Chopin's Preludes because I hear them as being probably the closest pieces in style to Schumann - or am I talking rubbish (not for the first time) ?
Martin
Hi Martin

I can relate to your experience with Schumann's piano music - although I am reluctant to connect this with speculation about his mental health.

I have always loved the slow sections but used to struggle with the more energetic movements. However I think this had something to do with the recordings I was listening to. In my opinion the best Schumann players can clearly articulate the frequent changes in rhythm in the fast sections without making the music tip over into angst-ridden noise. This led me to reassess what Schumann was trying to do in these sections - instead of hearing them primarily as outpourings of emotional expression I have become more interested in how Schumann creates his effects through constantly shifting rhythms. In this aspect he reminds me of Stravinsky - not a comparison that springs to mind for most people!

Best,
Justin
Hi Martin,

I have the Aeschbacher CD that Werner mentions - it is a wonderful set of recordings.

Here is the CD that led me to re-evaluate Schumann's piano music.

Image

In particular Schiff's performance of the Humoreske was an eye-opener. The recorded sound of the piano is spectacular. In general I enjoy most of Schiff's Schumann. Cortot, Lupu, Rubinstein and Horowitz are other favourites.

Best,
Justin

Jack Kelso
Posts: 3004
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:52 pm
Location: Mannheim, Germany

Re: Schumann Speculation

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:35 am

When listening to Schumann's piano music one should keep in mind that he based his style to a large extent on J.S. Bach's intensity. The rhythmic power disturbs or perplexes many a great musician, even Yehudi Menuhin was bothered by Schumann's original use of syncopation.

Giomar Novaes, Geza Anda, Arthur Rubinstein and Sviatov Richter remain to my mind uppermost in interpretations.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 61 guests