Schumann and Romanticism

Topics: Romanticism, Romantic music, Hector Berlioz Pages: 6 (1905 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Before research:
Did not know much about the different themes/melodies that went through the piece Didn’t analyze the dynamics and how it affected the music in general How the composer felt about these pieces
What each piece represented…
* I. Zart und mit Ausdruck (Tender and with expression)
* II. Lebhaft, leicht (Lively, light)
* III. Rasch und mit Feuer (Quick and with fire)
* The first piece is in A minor, and begins dreamily with hints of melancholy, but concludes with a resolution and hope in A major, looking forward to the next movement. * The second piece is in A major, and is playful, upbeat, energetic and positive, with a central section modulating to F major with chromatic triplets in dialogue with the piano. * The final piece is again in A major. The pace suddenly drives into a frenzy of passion and fiery energy, bordering on the irrational. The movement pushes the players to their limits as Schumann writes "schneller und schneller" (faster and faster). The movement ends exuberantly with a triumphant close.

* In addition, the connotations of "fantasy" justify the sudden mood changes, which are a signature of so much of Schumann's music, and which reflect his emotions and mood swings. The pieces are like songs without words, or an instrumental song cycle. Phantasiestücke, Op. 73 

* The first of the pieces, a song without words marked "Zart und mit Ausdruck" (Delicately and with expression), maintains a constant triplet-rhythm accompaniment in the piano, which supports a mostly independent clarinet line. The central section is distinguished by a move away from A minor and falling arpeggio figures in the clarinet. The return to the first section is nearly literal until the final harmonic shift to A major

* Piano and clarinet share the melody in the blithe second piece, an intermezzo marked "Lebhaft, leicht" (Lively, light). The busy central section, itself cast in two parts, is marked by a sudden change to F major. The return of the first section soon goes astray, leading to an elegant coda.

* The third piece, "Rasch und mit Feuer" (Fast and with fire) begins forte and with a sense of urgency. Triplet rhythms again dominate the piano part, while the cello plays its most animated melody yet. The central section provides the least harmonic contrast of all, moving unobtrusively from the opening A major to A minor. Schumann writes an extended coda to confirm both the mood and key of the piece and the entire set.

Read more: falls in line with the many other fantasy-like pieces Schumann composed throughout his career * He was a wholehearted Romantic and a firm believer that the composer's unrestricted imagination was the prerequisite for ideal expression

* The first piece, in A minor and marked Zart und mit Ausdruck ("Tender and with expression"), begins with a flowing accompaniment of triplet arpeggios in the piano offset by a rising semitone motif full of repressed emotions. This inconspicuous motif becomes a major element throughout the piece, often coming to the fore when the solo line pauses. The melancholy gives way in the final bars to a peaceful conclusion in A major.

* Embracing the newly found A major, the middle piece is more lively and energetic (Lebhaft, leicht). Its opening section is somewhat unsettling with the duple eighths of the solo line consistently set against triplets in the piano. The middle section modulates to the key of F major, beginning with chromatic triplets tossed between the soloist and piano. Soon, however, the solo line takes up a lyrical melody similar to the opening of the piece. A brief return is made to the opening section before a coda brings the piece to a quiet close.

* Following the middle piece without pause, the...
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