MUSIC 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Piano Trio

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Published on 13 Apr 2013
McMaster University
Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) german composer/musician
60-year concert career, real fine pianist, one of most famous 19C musicians
Married equally famous Robert Schumann (1810-1856), who was taught by Clara's dad (famous pianist)
Child prodigy, taught piano from strict dad
dad organized all of her life, hour by hour
Clara's parents split when she was 5 cause he was such a control freak
Married Robert against dad's wishes (daddy issues)
Concert career brought her into contact with Mendelssohn, Chopin, Brahms, Franzslist
pioneered the "playing from memory" technique, now standard
suffered lots of tragedies
husband died in asylum at age 46, definitely bipolar, possibly other issues as well
4 out of her 8 children died before her
Despite all this, critics saw her as leading virtuoso
• Composed
piano concerto
piano trio
songs for piano
Written for husband's 38th birthday, 1848
First performed at their home on his birthday by Dresden Choral Society
Has political overtones, poem by progressive Emanuel Gaibel
Vorwärts! - radikal newspaper published in 1844, critical of Prussia (Marx wrote for the paper)
Associated with political reform aimed at unifying Germany (then Prussia, Swabia, Baden,
Saxony etc.)
Uprisings in 1848-1849 across Europe, the piece captures the idea of political reform
A Cappella Timbre
In mid-19C europe there was laws against large gatherings, however music for large social gatherings
was allowed (so people used music as a cover for people to gather and talk)
Contrasting melodies
setting follows the form of the poems 5 strophes
1, 3, 5 begin or end with word Vorwarts
1, 3, 5 are loud and energetic
2, 4 are softer, rhythmically smooth, words are about warning of complacency
Form: A B A' B' A'' (modified strophic, the ' means that it is a modified version)
Musically paints revolutionary words
Vorwarts is very prominent at end of strophe 1, unison texture, trumpet melody
Strophes concerning calm are quiet
The highest note on "Himmel" ("Heaven") just before end
Ex. of word-painting, where music captures literal meaning of a song (ascending scale = lyrics
about going up)
Other Protest Songs
The French Revolution (18C)
La Marseillaise, French anthem
US Civil War (19C)
The battle hymn of the republic
American Civil Rights Movement
We Shall Overcome - Charles Albert Tindley
The Vietnam War
Bob Dylan - With God on Our Side
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