The year 1840 proved a momentous one for Robert Schumann: after an interval of twelve years, he resumed writing songs, producing some 150 vocal compositions within the year; and in September, after a long and stormy courtship, he married his beloved Clara Wieck. During this period, Schumann's biographers represent him as being "caught in a tempest of song," transfiguring the emotions aroused by his love for Clara into a splendid outpouring of sublime music for voice and piano.
Much of that music is reproduced in this collection — comprising over 100 of Schumann's greatest lieder. Selections include:
Liederkreis (Heine), Op. 24
Liederkreis (Eichendorff), Op. 39
Myrthen, Op. 25
ZwOlf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner, Op. 35
Sechs Gedichte von Reinick, Op. 36
Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42
Dichterliebe, Op. 48
Individual Songs (17)
In his work, Schumann embodied a tradition of German musical romanticism, emphasizing self-expression, lyricism, and extra-musical (e.g., literary) association. Thus we find here songs
set to the poetry of Heine, Goethe, Burns, Byron, Moore, J. von Eichendorff, Adelbert von Chamisso, Emanuel Geibel, and others. Those who would know Schumann's work most intimately will be especially interested in Myrthen, a 26-song cycle (liederkreis) dedicated "to his beloved bride." Of these songs Schumann remarked, "… the Myrthen certainly allow a deeper insight into my inner musical workings." Of the songs in general, Grove's Dictionary offers this comment: "… the songs are not only piano pieces with another dimension, an additional tone-color; they are explicit, whereas the piano pieces are reserved. The lyrical element is set free and its emotional content made precise."
Complementing the music, this volume contains alphabetical listings of song titles, song openings and poets, and a glossary of German musical terms. New translations of the song texts have been specially prepared for this edition. The music has been reproduced directly from the authoritative Breitkopf and HArtel edition of 1882-87, edited by Clara Schumann.
As a composer of art songs, Schumann ranks among the greatest masters; this inexpensive collection makes the songs widely available to students, singers, musicians — any admirer of romanticism made manifest in exquisite matchings of words and music.