Robert Schumann: "Neue Bahnen" (New Paths)

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Robert Schumann: "Neue Bahnen" (New Paths)

Post by MaestroDJS » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:40 am

Robert Schumann: "Neue Bahnen" (New Paths)

This year I chanced upon the famous 1853 article by Robert Schumann "Neue Bahnen" (New Paths) in which he proclaimed Johannes Brahms to the world. Hitherto I had read only a few excerpts in English translations, but there was the entire article in its original German. Woohoo! Our June newsletter reprinted this article, plus my English translation. When one considers that Brahms was only 20, and Schumann had seen and heard only a few of his works, this is a prophetic article. On the other hand, during his career Schumann also praised other composers who are now forgotten (such as Albert Dietrich, who is now remembered almost solely for his collaboration with Schumann and Brahms on the "F-A-E" Sonata for violin and piano). Nonetheless, it's fascinating to read.

Below is Schumann's original article in German, followed by my English transation.

Dave

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Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms: One Genius Hails Another, by David Stybr
Reprinted from Maestro, Vol. 15, No. 5, June 2006
Classical Music SIG (Special Interest Group) of American Mensa
David Stybr, Coordinator

Many composers were critics, but Robert Schumann was more perceptive than most. After he heard Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra Op. 2 by Frédéric Chopin, Schumann wrote in the Algemeine Musik-Zeiting in 1831: "Hut ab, ihr Herrn, ein Genie! (Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!)" Schumann founded the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Musik) in 1834, and was its editor and principal contributor for its first decade. Tragically, by 1849 Chopin was dead, and in 1853, only 3 years before his own death, Schumann proclaimed Brahms to the world.

Original German:
Robert Schumann wrote:Robert Schumann: Neue Bahnen
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Leipzig
Band 39, Nr. 18: 28. Oktober 1853

Es sind Jahre verflossen, -- beinahe ebenso viele, als ich der früheren Redaktion dieser Blätter widmete, nämlich zehn --, daß ich mich auf diesem an Erinnerungen so reichen Terrain einmal hätte vernehmen lassen. Oft, trotz angestrengter produktiver Tätigkeit, fühlte ich mich angeregt; manche neue, bedeutende Talente erschienen, eine neue Kraft der Musik schien sich anzukündigen, wie dies viele der hochaufstrebenden Künstler der jüngsten Zeit bezeugen, wenn auch deren Produktionen mehr einem engeren Kreise bekannt sind. Ich dachte, die Bahnen dieser Auserwählten mit der größten Teilnahme verfolgend, es würde und müsse nach solchem Vorgang einmal plötzlich Einer erscheinen, der den höchsten Ausdruck der Zeit in idealer Weise auszusprechen berufen wäre, einer, der uns die Meisterschaft nicht in stufenweiser Entfaltung brächte, sondern, wie Minerva, gleich vollkommen gepanzert aus dem Haupte des Kronion spränge. Und er ist gekommen, ein junges Blut, an dessen Wiege Grazien und Helden Wache hielten. Er heißt Johannes Brahms, kam von Hamburg, dort in dunkler Stille schaffend, aber von einem trefflichen und begeistert zutragenden Lehrer [Eduard Marxsen] gebildet in den schwierigsten Satzungen der Kunst, mir kurz vorher von einem verehrten bekannten Meister empfohlen. Er trug, auch im Äußeren, alle Anzeichen an sich, die uns ankündigen: das ist ein Berufener. Am Klavier sitzend, fing er an wunderbare Regionen zu enthüllen. Wir wurden in immer zauberischere Kreise hineingezogen. Dazu kam ein ganz geniales Spiel, das aus dem Klavier ein Orchester von wehklagenden und lautjubelnden Stimmen machte. Es waren Sonaten, mehr verschleierte Symphonien, -- Lieder, deren Poesie man, ohne die Worte zu kennen, verstehen würde, obwohl eine tiefe Gesangsmelodie sich durch alle hindurchzieht, -- einzelne Klavierstücke, teilweise dämonischer Natur von der anmutigsten Form, -- dann Sonaten für Violine und Klavier, -- Quartette für Saiteninstrumente, -- und jedes so abweichend vom andern, daß sie jedes verschiedenen Quellen zu entströmen schienen. Und dann schien es, als vereinigte er, als Strom dahinbrausend, alle wie zu einem Wasserfall, über die hinunterstürzenden Wogen den friedlichen Regenbogen tragend und am Ufer von Schmetterlingen umspielt und von Nachtigallenstimmen begleitet.

Wenn er seinen Zauberstab dahin senken wird, wo ihm die Mächte der Massen, im Chor und Orchester, ihre Kräfte leihen, so stehen uns noch wunderbarere Blicke in die Geheimnisse der Geisterwelt bevor. Möchte ihn der höchste Genius dazu stärken, wozu die Voraussicht da ist, da ihm auch ein anderer Genius, der der Bescheidenheit, innewohnt. Seine Mitgenossen begrüßen ihn bei seinem ersten Gang durch die Welt, wo seiner vielleicht Wunden warten werden, aber auch Lorbeeren und Palmen; wir heißen ihn willkommen als starken Streiter.

Es waltet in jeder Zeit ein geheimes Bündnis verwandter Geister. Schließt, die ihr zusammengehört, den Kreis fester, daß die Wahrheit der Kunst immer klarer leuchte, überall Freude und Segen verbreitend.
My English translation:
Robert Schumann wrote:Robert Schumann: New Paths
New Journal for Musik, Leipzig
Vol. 39, No. 18: 28 October 1853

Many years have passed, -- almost just as many as I had earlier dedicated to the editorship of these pages, namely ten --, and in those years are memories of such rich terrain which once made itself heard to me. Often, from exerted productive activity, I felt stimulated; some new, important talents appeared, a new power in music seemed to announce itself, as shown by many of the high-rising artists of recent times, even if their productions are known mainly in narrow circles. I thought, that it would and that it must be, that someone would suddenly come along whose very calling would be that which needed to be expressed according to the spirit of the times and in the most suitable manner possible, one whose mastery would not gradually unfold but, like Minerva, would spring fully armed from the head of Jupiter. And now he has arrived, a young blood, at whose cradle graces and heroes kept watch. His name is Johannes Brahms, and he hails from Hamburg, where he works in dim seclusion having been educated in the most difficult of the rules of art by a good teacher [Eduard Marxsen]. He actually carried, also outwardly, all signs which announce to us: that is an appointing. Sitting at the piano, he began to explore most wonderful regions. We were drawn into more and more magical circles by his playing, full of genius, which made of the piano and orchestra of lamenting and jubilant voices. There were sonatas, or rather veiled symphonies; songs whose poetry might be understood without words; piano pieces both of a demoniac nature and of the most graceful form; sonatas for piano and violin; string quartettes, each so different from every other that they seemed to flow from many different sources. And then it seemed as if all those rushing stream combined as in a waterfall, carrying over over the downward-converging waves carried the peaceful rainbow, accompanied on the bank by the playing of butterflies and nightingale voices.

Whenever he bends his magic wand, there, when the powers of the orchestra and chorus lend him their aid, further glimpses of the magic world will be revealed to us. May the highest genius strengthen him! Meanwhile the spirit of modesty dwells within him. His comrades greet him at his first entrance into the world of art, where wounds may perhaps await him, but bay and laurel also; we welcome him as a valiant warrior.

For there exists in every age a secret bond of like spirits. You who belong together, draw the circle ever tighter, so that the truth of art shall burn more brilliantly, and spread joy and blessing too.

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:58 am

Although Schumann is famous for having proclaimed both Chopin and Brahms to the world, it is my understanding that he also did something more or less similar in between for a number of composers who are now forgotten. When Brahms humbly presented himself to Schumann, he had composed nothing of importance.

Similarly, Brahms, though he was famous for being cantankerous, championed a number of compsers, of whom perhaps only Dvorak ended up being of any importance. A case can be made that he did this out of a sense of duty to art, for he knew not his peer in his time except posssibly Wagner, who famously feigned to detest him (though not vice versa).

In the end, Brahms is one of those inscrutable self-contained miracles in music. His friendship with the Schumanns undoubtedly kept him from despair, but does not explain why he went from being the son of a risible Hamburg trombonist to be one of the half dozen greatest composers of all time.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by karlhenning » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:54 am

jbuck919 wrote:Although Schumann is famous for having proclaimed both Chopin and Brahms to the world, it is my understanding that he also did something more or less similar in between for a number of composers who are now forgotten.
How large a number? I am curious about any 'forgotten' composers whose careers Schumann sought to advance. Jack, any information on this head?

Of course, Schumann famously analyzed Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (from Liszt's piano transcription). But then, Berlioz has never been forgotten, or at least, not to the degree that Bach was once forgotten :-)
In the end, Brahms is one of those inscrutable self-contained miracles in music.
I expect that's reasonably true, but hardly more of Brahms than of three dozen other "inscrutable self-contained miracles in music."

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by MaestroDJS » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:35 am

jbuck919 wrote:Although Schumann is famous for having proclaimed both Chopin and Brahms to the world, it is my understanding that he also did something more or less similar in between for a number of composers who are now forgotten. When Brahms humbly presented himself to Schumann, he had composed nothing of importance.
karlhenning wrote:How large a number? I am curious about any 'forgotten' composers whose careers Schumann sought to advance. Jack, any information on this head?
John: Agreed. Except Brahms' piano sonatas, which Schumann mentioned, do qualify as something of importance.
Karl: Albert Dietrich comes to mind.
MaestroDJS wrote:When one considers that Brahms was only 20, and Schumann had seen and heard only a few of his works, this is a prophetic article. On the other hand, during his career Schumann also praised other composers who are now forgotten (such as Albert Dietrich, who is now remembered almost solely for his collaboration with Schumann and Brahms on the "F-A-E" Sonata for violin and piano). Nonetheless, it's fascinating to read.

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Post by karlhenning » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:10 pm

Hi, Dave!
MaestroDJS wrote:Karl: Albert Dietrich comes to mind.
Does that mean that John's "number," is One? :-)
karlhenning wrote:How large a number?
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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:53 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Although Schumann is famous for having proclaimed both Chopin and Brahms to the world, it is my understanding that he also did something more or less similar in between for a number of composers who are now forgotten. When Brahms humbly presented himself to Schumann, he had composed nothing of importance.
karlhenning wrote:How large a number? I am curious about any 'forgotten' composers whose careers Schumann sought to advance. Jack, any information on this head?
John: Agreed. Except Brahms' piano sonatas, which Schumann mentioned, do qualify as something of importance.
Karl: Albert Dietrich comes to mind.
MaestroDJS wrote:When one considers that Brahms was only 20, and Schumann had seen and heard only a few of his works, this is a prophetic article. On the other hand, during his career Schumann also praised other composers who are now forgotten (such as Albert Dietrich, who is now remembered almost solely for his collaboration with Schumann and Brahms on the "F-A-E" Sonata for violin and piano). Nonetheless, it's fascinating to read.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:12 pm

MaestroDJS wrote: John: Agreed. Except Brahms' piano sonatas, which Schumann mentioned, do qualify as something of importance.
In a sense, eveything that survives by Brahms counts as someithing of importance. We know he sat there and consigned numerous works he consideed unworthy to the stove. But he still left behind not great woks that are of no consequence, including the piano sontatas and the early organ fugues (all of which I have at least read through). So we have a general idea of what he would have been like if he had never risen above the leve of mediocrity. I

Brahms thought he had destroyed everything that indicated that he was capable of mediocrity (well, it is never really mediocre, but you get the point). But he allowed to survive enough stuff so that we can be aware that what he accomplished as a very great composer was beyond heroic.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:33 am

karlhenning wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Although Schumann is famous for having proclaimed both Chopin and Brahms to the world, it is my understanding that he also did something more or less similar in between for a number of composers who are now forgotten.
How large a number? I am curious about any 'forgotten' composers whose careers Schumann sought to advance. Jack, any information on this head?

Of course, Schumann famously analyzed Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (from Liszt's piano transcription). But then, Berlioz has never been forgotten, or at least, not to the degree that Bach was once forgotten :-)
In the end, Brahms is one of those inscrutable self-contained miracles in music.
I expect that's reasonably true, but hardly more of Brahms than of three dozen other "inscrutable self-contained miracles in music."

Cheers,
~Karl
Yes, Karl there were others---Schumann was also quite a fan of the music of Louis Spohr, Niels Wilhelm Gade and W. Sterndale Bennett. When I get home I'll check for more (I have his complete writings in German).

Let's look at Schumann's motivation for his article. He (and Clara) were looking desperately for someone to continue the Beethoven-Schubert- Mendelssohn-Schumann neo-classical tradition and oppose the Liszt-Wagner "music of the future" movement. Brahms was "Johnny-on-the-spot" and the Schumanns sensed he had it in him to take up where Schumann would leave off----which is exactly what he would do....in his own way, of course. And Brahms admitted this as well: "I shall always strive in my music to reach the same excellence as Schumann".

And Brahms largely fulfilled the prophesy, producing many masterpieces. Unlike John Buck, I wouldn't put him with Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Wagner into the category of the first six---but he justly deserves a place next to Haydn and Schubert....if, however, for different reasons. Brahms' inspiration wasn't always on the same plateau as the others, but he largely made up for it in his superb technique.

Tschüß,
Jack
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Post by anasazi » Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:57 am

jbuck919 wrote:
MaestroDJS wrote: John: Agreed. Except Brahms' piano sonatas, which Schumann mentioned, do qualify as something of importance.
In a sense, eveything that survives by Brahms counts as someithing of importance. We know he sat there and consigned numerous works he consideed unworthy to the stove. But he still left behind not great woks that are of no consequence, including the piano sontatas and the early organ fugues (all of which I have at least read through). So we have a general idea of what he would have been like if he had never risen above the leve of mediocrity.
I can't accept that Brahms sonatas are mediocre works. I've played through parts of them, entirely the C major sonata. Very much Brahms. Perhaps not inspired Brahms. If only other composers had tossed as much as Brahms did, it would be a fairer world. ;-)
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Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:58 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Yes, Karl there were others---Schumann was also quite a fan of the music of Louis Spohr, Niels Wilhelm Gade and W. Sterndale Bennett. When I get home I'll check for more (I have his complete writings in German).
Thanks, Jack! Of course, I ought to have thought of Gade myself (having played a little Schumann morceau on the motif G-A-D-E).

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:25 am

anasazi wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
MaestroDJS wrote: John: Agreed. Except Brahms' piano sonatas, which Schumann mentioned, do qualify as something of importance.
In a sense, eveything that survives by Brahms counts as someithing of importance. We know he sat there and consigned numerous works he consideed unworthy to the stove. But he still left behind not great woks that are of no consequence, including the piano sontatas and the early organ fugues (all of which I have at least read through). So we have a general idea of what he would have been like if he had never risen above the leve of mediocrity.
I can't accept that Brahms sonatas are mediocre works. I've played through parts of them, entirely the C major sonata. Very much Brahms. Perhaps not inspired Brahms. If only other composers had tossed as much as Brahms did, it would be a fairer world. ;-)
I'll make a confession and tell you that I have done exactly the same thing. The C major, which Brahms himself would have admitted is obligated to Beethoven's Fifth, is not a bad work, and is fun to play, and I would not wish it gone. However, in my opinion, the world of music would not be damaged very much if Brahms had also cast it into the stove. Similarly, the few early organ works (a couple of fugues basically) are not bad but very strange as exercises in, well, writing an organ fugue. They have almost no pedal part, and so are among other things unidiomatic. On the other hand, I would not wish us to be without the 11 chorale preludes, Brahms' last work which was if I am remembering correctly found in his room after he died. They are at the level of Bach.

I find it interesting, this situation of knowing that Brahms did something like write a whole string quartet and burn it because he considered it unworthy, yet left behind a few pieces that are below his usually monumental level of artistic achievement. I think it is the latter that we must remember of any composer of that caliber. I've seen remarks here that imply that Brahms was a little lower than the angels, and I cannot agree.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:33 am

Here is a Brahms story, and I'm going to allow myself to drop some names.

When I was at Princeton, I had a class with Claudio Spies (a name a couple of you might recognize--among other things he was a friend of Stravinsky). Spies adored Brahms and was the first who put me on to him. In walks Milton Babbitt, fresh from hearing a performance of Brahms' second piano concerto with Sviatislavl Richter. "You were right," he said to Spies, shaking his head. "You were right all the time."
Last edited by jbuck919 on Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:34 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Let's look at Schumann's motivation for his article. He (and Clara) were looking desperately for someone to continue the Beethoven-Schubert-Mendelssohn-Schumann neo-classical tradition and oppose the Liszt-Wagner "music of the future" movement. Brahms was "Johnny-on-the-spot" and the Schumanns sensed he had it in him to take up where Schumann would leave off – which is exactly what he would do....in his own way, of course. And Brahms admitted this as well: "I shall always strive in my music to reach the same excellence as Schumann."
Another aspect of it is: from our remove, in the first place after the respective deaths (and therefore, the sealed catalogues) of Brahms and Gade, and in the second place after a century of artistic evaluation, it seems obvious that Brahms is the superior artist to Gade. jbuck perhaps seeks to make it an issue of supposedly ‘faulty vision’ on Schumann’s part, that he promoted both composers ‘equally’. But in his day (and especially at the time of the article which heads this thread) Schumann would necessarily see only potential (where some other critic, perhaps, might simply wring his hands that neither Gade nor Brahms was simply and devoutly retreading artistic accomplishment and rhetoric of the past). Schumann saw artistic ability and potential in both Gade and Brahms, but who at that time would have known how things would play out in their respective lives/careers? Maybe, had jbuck lived at that time, he would have scoffed at Schumann’s supposing that anyone like Brahms could produce work which could come anywhere near the status of the masterpieces of the past . . . .
And Brahms largely fulfilled the prophesy, producing many masterpieces. Unlike John Buck, I wouldn't put him with Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Wagner into the category of the first six – but he justly deserves a place next to Haydn and Schubert....if, however, for different reasons. Brahms' inspiration wasn't always on the same plateau as the others, but he largely made up for it in his superb technique.
That is a fascinating Top Six, Jack! Though I dare say jbuck will have something to say about anyone who ranks Schumann higher than Brahms :-)

But you know, even though I knew the Brahms symphonies well long before I ever paid much attention to Schumann's four, and my affection for the Brahms symphonies is undimmed . . . I could see where one might argue for the Schumann, as a set of four, might have the edge over Brahms.

Though, of course, comparisons are odorous :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
Last edited by karlhenning on Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by pizza » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:38 am

jbuck919 wrote:Similarly, Brahms, though he was famous for being cantankerous, championed a number of compsers, of whom perhaps only Dvorak ended up being of any importance. A case can be made that he did this out of a sense of duty to art, for he knew not his peer in his time except posssibly Wagner, who famously feigned to detest him (though not vice versa).
Brahms' "peer" was Bruckner by any serious historical assessment. Whether he knew him as such is another matter. Despite the well-publicized and thoroughly analyzed acrimony, one can never be sure.

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Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:39 am

jbuck919 wrote:. . . I'll make a confession and tell you that I have done exactly the same thing. The C major, which Brahms himself would have admitted is obligated to Beethoven's Fifth, is not a bad work, and is fun to play, and I would not wish it gone. However, in my opinion, the world of music would not be damaged very much if Brahms had also cast it into the stove.
Now, moving to another composer . . . is there perhaps a single Cantata which, in your opinion, the world of music would not be damaged very much if Bach had cast it into the stove?

Consider it a rhetorical question, John :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:46 am

karlhenning wrote:Maybe, had jbuck lived at that time, he would have scoffed at Schumann’s supposing that anyone like Brahms could produce work which could come anywhere near the status of the masterpieces of the past . . . .
Well, you do have to admit, it was a little improbable. Even Brahms doubted he could do it before he actually did.

I agree with you, Karl, by the way, that Schumann could not be expected to read the future.

Brahms himself made at least one, I suppose, mistake about a composer who approached him, and that was Wolf. In a bad mood or something like that, he dismissed Wolf, who forever after took every opporunity to denigrate Brahms. I don't like Wolf very much myself (I find his interpretations of texts to be painfully elaborative of the obvious as opposed to the subtelties of Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms), but of course l great Lieder singers have a different opinion so I must be missing something. However, the point is, this could have been a Brahms "discovery" and was not.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by karlhenning » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:49 am

jbuck919 wrote:
karlhenning wrote:Maybe, had jbuck lived at that time, he would have scoffed at Schumann’s supposing that anyone like Brahms could produce work which could come anywhere near the status of the masterpieces of the past . . . .
Well, you do have to admit, it was a little improbable. Even Brahms doubted he could do it before he actually did.
Well, to be sure, John, it would take the hubris of a Wagner, honestly to believe that, come what may, you're going to produce work which will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats of the past.

It is not hubris to aspire to that; only to take it as a foregone conclusion.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:20 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Yes, Karl there were others---Schumann was also quite a fan of the music of Louis Spohr, Niels Wilhelm Gade and W. Sterndale Bennett.
Thanks for reminding me of them. Niels Gade and Louis Spohr composed some fine works which are very enjoyable indeed, if not particularly profound. If I don't have anything by William Sterndale Bennett, but if Robert Schumann admired his music too (Schumann dedicated his Études Symphoniques for piano to him), there must be something to it. They won't displace Schumann or Brahms, but there's plenty of room for good composers in my collection alongside the great.

To cite just 2 examples: Danish composer Niels Gade (1817-1890) completed 8 symphonies, and his Symphony No. 5 in D Minor with its prominent obbligato piano part made me sit up and take notice. Good stuff. Equally enjoyable was Symphony No. 6 in G Major "Historical" by German composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859). It is in 4 movements, marked "Bach-Händel'sche Periode 1720" (Largo grave - Allegro moderato), "Haydn-Mozart'sche Periode 1780" (Larghetto), "Beethoven'sche Periode 1810" (Scherzo) and then-modern "Allerneueste Periode 1840" (Allegro vivace). The first movement reminds us that Felix Mendelssohn had only recently revived the music of Bach, and also that the neo-Baroque and neo-Classical works of Igor Stravinsky were nearly a century in the future. Great fun.

Glad to see this thread sparked such interesting discussions. Music need not be confined to immortal masterpiece to be worthwhile. Quoth Gioacchino Rossini: "Every kind of music is good, except the boring kind." :)

Harmoniously,

Dave

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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:39 pm

MaestroDJS wrote: Quoth Gioacchino Rossini: "Every kind of music is good, except the boring kind." :)
Yes, well, he would have known what he was talking about.
:roll:

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Post by Gary » Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:47 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:
Danish composer Niels Gade (1817-1890) completed 8 symphonies, and his Symphony No. 5 in D Minor with its prominent obbligato piano part made me sit up and take notice. Good stuff. Equally enjoyable was Symphony No. 6 in G Major
Gade was an accomplished composer of ballet music as well. There was Et Folkesagn (A Folk Tale), which he wrote in colloboration with another Danish composer, J.P.E. Hartmann, for the great choreographer August Bournonville. It is still regularly performed in Denmark.

Orchestra: The Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Conductor: Harry Damgaard
Label: CPO 999 426-2


Image


He also composed Napoli in collaboration with Eduard Helsted, Holger Paulli, and Hans Christian Lumbye--again, for Bournonville.

Image
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Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:03 am

MaestroDJS wrote:To cite just 2 examples: Danish composer Niels Gade (1817-1890) completed 8 symphonies, and his Symphony No. 5 in D Minor with its prominent obbligato piano part made me sit up and take notice. Good stuff. Equally enjoyable was Symphony No. 6 in G Major "Historical" by German composer Louis Spohr (1784-1859). It is in 4 movements, marked "Bach-Händel'sche Periode 1720" (Largo grave - Allegro moderato), "Haydn-Mozart'sche Periode 1780" (Larghetto), "Beethoven'sche Periode 1810" (Scherzo) and then-modern "Allerneueste Periode 1840" (Allegro vivace). The first movement reminds us that Felix Mendelssohn had only recently revived the music of Bach, and also that the neo-Baroque and neo-Classical works of Igor Stravinsky were nearly a century in the future.
Yes, I enjoy those you mentioned, but Gade's First Symphony, plus his 7th and 8th Symphonies and the beautiful "Echoes from Ossian" concert overture (opus 1) are my favorites of his.

In my humble estimation, Spohr's earlier symphonies (specifically, nos. 3, 4 and 5) are his most original and interesting.

When asked what he thought of Spohr's music, Beethoven replied, "Spohr ist zu dissonant!!").

Jack
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Post by karlhenning » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:42 am

Jack Kelso wrote:When asked what he thought of Spohr's music, Beethoven replied, "Spohr ist zu dissonant!!").
!!!
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:02 am

karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:When asked what he thought of Spohr's music, Beethoven replied, "Spohr ist zu dissonant!!").
!!!
The arch-conservative Spohr actually devised the harmonic system that later became known to us as "Weberian", most traceable in the clarinet concerti of both Spohr and Weber.

But for Beethoven, the "Man Who Freed Music" (title of a bio), this music was too harsh. Mendelssohn and Schumann greatly admired Spohr.

Spohr was also quite a champion of Wagner's music later in life (1840's, 1850's).

Best regards,
jack
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Post by anasazi » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:49 pm

Quoting from Jan Swafford's biography of Brahms that I am currently reading:

"In an 1834 issue of the Neue Zeitschrift für Music, Schumann published an article including this prophecy:

One winter night a year ago a young man joined our group.... Every eye was focused upon him. Some were reminded of a John the Baptist figure.. the eyes aglow with enthusiasm ... the luxuriant head of tumbling curls, and beneath it all a lithe, slim torso ... I heard a voice within me saying: 'He it is whom you are seeking'

These words introduced composer Ludwig Schunke".

If only they had all been Spohrs or Sterndale-Bennetts (or Brahms).

From what I understand from Swafford's book, Schumann's 1853 article left Brahms with future enemies in both Weimar AND Leipsig.
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints" - John Muir.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:30 am

anasazi wrote:From what I understand from Swafford's book, Schumann's 1853 article left Brahms with future enemies in both Weimar AND Leipsig.
Yes---this was an unfortunate by-product of the article, which (I suspect) was at least as much engineered by Clara as by Robert. Both of them were desperate to find a successor to the line of Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann; thus the overly enthusiastic tone of the writing. Right from the beginning Brahms was put into a difficult position.

Clara disliked Wagner's music, but she despised Liszt---as man and as composer. Although it has been said that Liszt was not as much a womanizer as the women were "Liszt-izers", Clara saw it through the eyes of a concert pianist----and a certain amount of professional envy was surely present.

Liszt/Wagner "satelites" included opera composers Peter Cornelius ("Der Barbier von Bagdad"), Karl Goldmark ("Die Königin von Saba"), Engelbert Humperdinck ("Hänsel und Gretel") and symphonist Felix Draeseke.

Jack
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Post by anasazi » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:41 am

Jack Kelso wrote: When asked what he thought of Spohr's music, Beethoven replied, "Spohr ist zu dissonant!!").

Jack
And whoever said LVB didn't have a sense of humour? ;-)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:45 am

anasazi wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote: When asked what he thought of Spohr's music, Beethoven replied, "Spohr ist zu dissonant!!").

Jack
And whoever said LVB didn't have a sense of humour? ;-)
Ahem---if you knew Spohr's 4th Symphony ("Die Weihe der Töne") ("The Consecration of Tones") or his 5th Symphony---you would be convinced that Beethoven was being quite serious.

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

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