<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson ENCHANTING SIMPLICITY
With marriage still in the distant future, Schumann was harking back to that year of
frustration when the Fantasy was published: 'You can only understand the Fantasy
if you go back to the unhappy summer of 1836 when we were separated.' The tender opening to
the last movement reinforces the point
[listen -- track 3, 0:01-0:57].
The Faschingsschwank, a characteristic carnival work of Schumann's, was mostly
written while he was in Vienna and Clara in Paris. So despite an interdict from Metternich,
a snatch of the Marseillaise creeps into the first movement. It was a response to a
Clara request: 'Listen, Robert, won't you for once compose something brilliant and easy to
understand, something that is a complete and coherent piece without special titles, not too
long and not too short?' Perhaps she had a sonata in mind, and that is what Schumann almost
wrote. The multiple flats of the Intermezzo make a movement of passionate intensity
[listen -- track 7, 0:00-1:14].
Copyright © 8 May 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK