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Waldesgesprch R. Schumann Liederkreis Op.39 (N.3)

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INFORMATIONTRANSLATIONSCOREBIOGRAPHYARTISTS

From Liederkreis, Op.39

Voice / Vocal Fach Soprano / Mezzo / Tenor / Baritone

key of recordings E major

Language German

Composer Robert Schumann (8 June 1810 29 July 1856)

Poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (10 March 1788 26 November 1857)

Range

Presentation

Schumann was such a quick and prolific composer that its often difficult to draw
distinct points of development in his style, but Schumann himself described
these songs as my most Romantic music ever. The Eichendorff texts are (with
the exception of Intermezzo, in which the location is not specified) all set
outdoors, often with direct references to nature, and each refers to travel,
whether thoughts traveling to a beloved or a physical journey, both typical
Romantic concepts. They are also highly Romantic in their expressive moodiness,
whether ecstatic or melancholy, and the occasional aura of mystery, whether the
unexplained tears of the bride in Auf einer Burg or the supernatural in
Waldesgesprach. Schumanns selection of these varied poems itself creates a
Romantic juxtaposition of emotions, and the passionate settings capture and
emphasize those aspects.

They also show Schumanns increasing sophistication as a song composer; the


piano becomes more important in its own right, and the scene painting from the
piano is among Schumanns best, creating the desired effects immediately and
with no excess. (The exception is the relentlessly jolly Der frohe Wandersmann,
which originally opened the cycle and which Schumann left out of the 1850 and
subsequent editions.) For example, Waldesgesprach uses an alluring lyrical
figure that quickly paints the seductive, wild figure of the Lorelei, a recitative-like
dialog between the protagonists, and a hunting theme that first depicts the man
as the hunter and the woman as the object of his hunt, and repeats at the end,
ironically, to show the reversal of roles by the end of the song. There are quick
characterizations, such as the sudden surge at du schne Braut suggesting an
eager lunge towards the lady, and the almost smugly seductive decrescendo on
the honeyed heim.

The cycle is atypical of Schumann in the relative lack of musical linkages


between and among the songs. There is no piano postlude reprising a theme
from the first song, as there is in Frauenliebe und -leben or Dichterliebe, and
while there are tonal connections between songs, most notably between Auf
einer Burg and the following In der Fremde (which also share similar imagery),
they are less closely constructed than the connections in other song cycles.

Schumann often integrated references to his and Claras love in his songs and his
instrumental and orchestral writing. In the second song, Intermezzo, he
includes the famous Clara theme, a descending five-note pattern that in
German notation spells out her name. Numerous elements of the cycle reflect
events of Schumanns own lifefrom blissful love to the wedding procession that
fills the listener with sorrow in Im Walde, paranoia in Zwielicht, and finally
the various images of death.

3.Waldesgesprch (Es ist schon spt, es ist schon kalt)

Written in 1840, Robert Schumanns Waldesgesprch, Op. 39, No. 3


(Conversation in the Forest), is one of two sinister forest scenes found in the
cycle Liederkreis, Op. 39. This dramatic and animated work is based on the
Loreley myth, as explored in the poetry of Eichendorff. Upon ignorantly entering
a haunted forest, a man is deceived by what he believes is a beautiful lost bride
and offers to escort her out. But during a brief conversation her demonic
constitution is revealed, and she declares that he is eternally trapped in the dark
woods. The composers primary musical focus is the conflicting natures of the
two characters. He chose to portray the strength of the man with dynamic horn
motives, and used a harp for the Loreleys ballad-like role. In addition, Schumann
uses the power of a key change to emphasize their dissimilar moral codes and
personalities. However, this structure is forfeited in the second verse so that the
song may end in its home key of E major. Schumann appropriately reused this
key in Loreley, Op. 53/2, from Romanzen und Balladen, Vol. III, also composed
in 1840. With the exception of a diminished dominant seventh chord used to
signify the Loreleys grief, the melody and harmony of Waldesgesprch are
based on the simple alternation of the tonic, subdominant, and dominant. The
second forest theme of Liederkreis appears in Zwielicht, Op. 39/10, a frightful
warning of the terrors of the night.

Meredith Gailey, All Music Guide

Portions of Content Provided by All Music Guide.

2008 All Media Guide, LLC. All Music Guide is a registered trademark of All
Media Guide, LLC.

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