Schumann Intermezzo

The Beauty Of Intermezzo

Many regard Heinrich Heine as  the last Romantic and the first modern. Schumann composer was sensitive to Heine's poetic method especially the adroit use of the old Romantic iconography, subtly interlaced with a self-ironic awareness.

Schumann, had his own copy of the 1827 first edition of Heine's Lyrisches Intermezzo.. In these opening verses Heine recounts the story of a knight-poet who is abruptly confronted by a vision of his destiny. In Heine's  series of sixty-six poems the protagonist is the object of his own scathing wit. The protoganist is confronted with his bitter fate that refuses him the fulfillment of his love and passion.The German title of the Twenty Songs is Zwanzig Lieder und Gesänge aus dem Lyrischen Intermezzo.Schumann selected twenty odd songs that he intended to designate as Opus 29, the composer created a cycle which,  cloaked complex feelings with seeming naivetè of expression. As it stands in its original manuscript version, the 20 Lieder are as much a cycle about the poet's unrequited love as  they are an exploration of the poet's fateful failure in love.

Schumann – Other Works

During 1838-1839, Schumann created a brilliant piano work for Clara to perform, the delightful Arabesque in C Major, Op. 18. This work is a good example of Schumann’s style. It abounds in fragmentary repetitions. Schumann also composed at this time 140 lieder (art songs), including many of his finest works in this genre. Among the resulting songs s were Liederkreis based on the words of Eichendorff, Frauenliebe und Leben  and Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love).

Unlike his contemporaries, Schumann tended to work in only one genre at a time. In 1841, he turned his attentions from lieder to orchestral music. Schumann composed  a beautiful, poetic piece for piano and orchestra for his belovedClara. He later modified it as the first movement of his Piano Concerto in A minor. In 1842, while Clara was away on a concert tour , he turned to chamber music, and wrote his three string quartets and three works with piano, of which the Piano Quintet remains the most popular because of its evergreen Romantic appeal.

Schumann suffered from depressions – with alternating happy and sad spells and it can be seen in his music. His depressions hampered his creativity. In 1846-1848 he was again productive as a composer, writing chamber music, songs, and his opera Genoveva which was first performed in Leipzig in 1850 with very modest success.. Schumann's Concert Overtures include Die Braut von Messina (The Bride from Messina), based on Schiller's play of that name, Julius Cäsar, based on Shakespeare, and Hermann und Dorothea, based on Goethe.In 1850 Schumann  wrote the eloquent Cello Concerto and the Rhenish Symphony.  

Schumann’s Life – A Brief Note

Schumann had a life long struggle with syphilis. He was administered mercury for the same. He also suffered from bipolar depression. The alternating happy and sad moods can be found in many of his compositions. He tried to commit suicide in February 1854 and was admitted to an asylum. He passed away on 29 July 1856.
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