Monday, July 10, 2006

Schumann - From Foreign Lands And People

Playing on the iPod is Schumann's beautiful From Foreign Lands And People (Scenes From Childhood Op.15 No.1). Because of - and for - my daughters.
Click on the picture of the CD cover to listen.

Schumann was a precocious child who began playing piano at the age of six and gave his first public performance when he was eleven. He attended Leipzig University to study law, but music was his real love. He studied piano under Friedrich Wieck from 1830 and eventually married Clara, Wieck's daughter, herself an accomplished pianist. Schumann had envisaged a career as a concert pianist, but permanently damaged the phalanges of his left hand because of a device he had invented to hold the third finger motionless during practice. Thereafter, he devoted himself to composition. His first piano works, the Abegg Variations, date from 1830. After his marriage in 1840, Schumann produced 130 lieder (or songs) during that year alone. He was to go on to produce more than 250 songs, four symphonies, numerous piano works and chamber music. His mental health began to fail him by 1844 and in 1854, in a state of mental depression, he threw himself into the Rhine. Thereafter, he was confined to an asylum until his death in 1856. Schumann was one of the greatest of the Romantics and an outstanding genius in the history of music. --- from eBooks-Library
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When Schumann wrote Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), he was deeply in love with Clara Wieck, his soon to become his wife over the objections of her overbearing father. The composer worked at a feverish pace, composing these pieces in just several days. Actually, he wrote about thirty small pieces, but trimmed them to the thirteen that comprise the set. They are fairly simple in terms of execution, and, of course, their subject matter deals with the world of children. Schumann, however, pointed out that they were not intended for children. ---from SibeliusMusic

2 comments:

Gert said...

When I did O-Level Music (predecessor to GCSE)) one of our set works was excerpts, including this one, from Kinderszenen. I love the entire cycle.

Herr W said...

the last two pices of op.15 is my favorites,

argerichs recording is my favorite, she kind of pick the work apart, only to put it together again in her own magic way,

norwegian schumann lover,