Archive for December, 2006

Schumann, Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Robert Schumann, 1810-1856

Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Op. 132, for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, 1853

Robert Schumann was a quintessential Romantic. Intensely passionate about literature and music, he devoted himself to both forms of expression, each extensively informing the other. Often inspired by love for his wife, Schumann wrote music for and about Clara with thematic references to her name and musical depictions of her idealized persona. Asserting that great music followed its own intrinsic demands, he produced compositions that were highly individual in form and character, striking many of his contemporaries as irregular, idiosyncratic, even indulgent. Despite his noble, ardent quest, his music was not generally appreciated during his lifetime. Schumann was uniquely suited to fanciful miniatures for the piano, his own instrument, with many of the works bearing novel, extra-musical titles he applied in passing only after completing them in trancelike state of creativity. (more…)

Beethoven, String Trio in c minor, Op. 9, No. 3

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827

String Trio in c minor, Op. 9, No. 3, 1797

With a great artist, it is fascinating to explore the earliest works, searching for the first traces of individuality and hints of what would follow. In 1798, Beethoven began working on his first string quartets, which he completed in 1800, the same year he composed his first symphony. From his “early period”, these are, nonetheless, well known within the standard repertory. Even earlier than the quartets, one discovers another, lesser known string chamber work of striking originality: the String Trio Op. 9, No. 3 in C minor of 1797. Beethoven wrote all five of his string trios for violin, viola and cello before 1798. (more…)