By Ed Shanapy
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Extra resources for 500 Piano Intros for the Great Standards (The Steinway Library of Piano Music)
Less than a year earlier, Schumann had positioned Clara in a similar fashion. 78 Schumann’s creation of a Schubertian Mädchencharakter was a canny literary strategy that was rooted in both aesthetic tradition and personal experience. If ❧ robert schumann’s schubert 27 Schumann the critic made subtle use of gendered language, one is inevitably drawn to ask what resonance, if any, was there in his music of the period? Certainly, Schumann’s recourse to the quotation of and allusion to the music of both Schubert and Beethoven at the time of his essay has often been noted in the scholarly literature, although no connection has been made specifically to his Mädchencharakter article.
9 (1835), both of which have their own Schubertian precedents. The fifth piece of Papillons derives from the trio of the seventh of the eight polonaises that had been influenced by Schubert’s works of the same name, while the introductory section of the unfinished Sehnsuchtswalzer variations, originally intended as op. 82 When Schumann was working on the first movement of the Fantasie in June 1836, he was experiencing the same kind of separation from Clara as he was in February 1838. If one were sympathetic to the hypothesis of dual references to “An die Musik” and An die ferne Geliebte in the Fantasie, Schumann’s letter to Clara in that year about performing a symbolic marriage ceremony over the graves of Beethoven and Schubert might be seen as serving as a prose description for a symbolic act he may have already performed via a simultaneous musical reference.
The quotation has an ironic 34 ❧ scott messing function: it supplies someone else’s words to signify the figure while silencing its true voice, even as the paper emanates from a mask whose design would require that the disguised person, who does not utter those words, speak them in order to be identified by the observer/reader. In this context, Schumann’s particular appropriation of Schubert is characteristic of the romantic concept of the fragment. He takes the quotation from a point in the latter’s Rondo that seems to be almost an incidental afterthought culminating in the modulation to the dominant (one that Schunke in his review of the Rondo deemed to be imperceptible), just before the introduction of a clearly articulated new theme of paired thirds marked pianissimo and ligato [sic] in the left hand of the piano primo (in a manner equivalent to the appearance of the new theme and key area in the first movement of Schubert’s Quintet in C Major, D.