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Robert schumann

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Robert and Clara Schumann in the history of piano music.
Ninth of ten presentations on the piano and classical composers.

Publicada em: Educação
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Robert schumann

  1. 1. Which statement is NOT true of composer Robert Schumann?  A. He destroyed his hand (and his career as a pianist).  B. He married his piano teacher’s daughter—and there wereTWO lawsuits about this.  C. He was the first person to call Frederic Chopin a genius.  D. He ended his days in an insane asylum.
  2. 2. Schumann is famous for all four of those reasons. (Statement A, however, is only partly true, as we will see.)
  3. 3. He’s also famous for writing some of the loveliest piano music ever. As well as other wonderful compositions.
  4. 4. Lithograph of young Schumann.
  5. 5. Photograph of Schumann at an older age.
  6. 6. Robert Schumann was one of the greatest Romantic composers. Do you remember what Romantic means? Classical? Baroque? Name one composer from each period.
  7. 7. Did you say: BAROQUE-- Bach CLASSICAL--Mozart
  8. 8. ROMANTIC--Chopin BEETHOVEN—can’t be put in one period.
  9. 9. Schumann is a Romantic. Because of the style of music he composed. The other meaning of the word applies to him, too, though.
  10. 10. He famously eloped with Clara Wieck (pronounced Veek), who became Clara Schumann when they married.
  11. 11. Clara was world famous. She is still considered to be one of the greatest pianists of all time. She was the first to do many of the things that pianists still do today. She was the first, for example, to completely memorize all her music. She never played while reading from a score; something which was unheard of at that time.
  12. 12. Clara was a famous pianist at age eleven. Robert first heard her play at a concert when she was fifteen. He immediately decided that he also was going to become a ‘virtuoso’—a great pianist.
  13. 13. He was studying law at the time.
  14. 14. He was also already twenty-four years old. However, he got accepted as a piano student by Clara’s father, Friedrich Wieck, who was her teacher.
  15. 15. Robert moved into the Wieck home to study full time. When he got engaged to Clara, her father not only threw him out, but sued him in court. He wanted a judge to prevent the marriage, and said that not only was Robert a terrible person, but that he had bad handwriting!
  16. 16. When the judge ruled that twenty year old Clara could marry as she pleased, her father sued her for her earnings up to that point, saying she had earned the money because of his teaching. Clara was rich from her piano playing at that time.
  17. 17. Wieck did have excellent teaching methods. He believed in overall musical development, not in just drills, and emphasized expressiveness over finger dexterity. Clara was famous for her beautiful legato playing. She would later teach this skill to some of the important twentieth century pianists.
  18. 18. When Clara married Robert, her father didn’t speak to her again until she had her first child. Here are the Schumanns together, and this is a photograph of Clara with her first baby, Marie.
  19. 19. The Schumanns had eight children. Here are six of them. They were Marie, Elise, Julie, Emil, Ludwig, Ferdinand, Eugenie, and Felix.
  20. 20. Clara was famous when she got married—Robert was not. He had showed a great deal of talent as a piano student though and Friedrich Wieck thought he could make him into a virtuoso, before Robert injured his hand.
  21. 21. The story is that he did it using something like this ‘Dactylion’...
  22. 22. …hoping for a shortcut to improve his finger dexterity.
  23. 23. This is not true. Robert most probably had a performance injury, of the repetitive stress type. This is unfortunately quite common among pianists. It’s why proper piano technique and posture are VERY, VERY IMPORTANT.
  24. 24. Keep your wrists level.
  25. 25.  The bench should be high enough so that your hips are level with or slightly above your knees.  You should be able to place your hands comfortably on the keys without having to reach too far forward.You should not have to move your elbows more than a few inches forward in order to reach the keys.  Your feet should be directly below or slightly in front of your knees, never behind your knees.
  26. 26. Stretch before playing, take breaks and stop playing if you have pain. Playing the piano should NEVER hurt!!!
  27. 27. With proper technique, you should be able to enjoy playing for a long time. Clara’s last performance was when she was 71. So she performed for sixty years.
  28. 28. She always played a lot of Robert’s music at her concerts, and she made his music famous. Robert began composing when he realized he would not recover the use of his hands, at least not enough to perform regularly in public.
  29. 29. Robert was not only a great composer. He was a very talented writer. He is one of the most important music critics ever.
  30. 30. It was as a music critic that he ‘discovered’ Chopin in 1831. When he wrote about how good Chopin’s music was, others began to notice the Polish genius.
  31. 31. Robert’s creative writing talents made him want to write music in a particular way. He wanted to portray ideas and events with his music writing, just as he did with words. Or as close as possible. This kind of literary music writing is called ‘program music’…
  32. 32. …and Robert was its pioneer. One of his first pieces of music was called Papillons (opus 2). https://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=etmc-mBzYCI
  33. 33. ‘Papillons’ means ‘butterflies.’
  34. 34. ‘Program music’ was to become very important, but the public was confused by it at first. It was not like the kinds of music they were used to—concertos and sonatas. It took years for Robert’s style to become admired—Clara spent years promoting it.
  35. 35. A lot of Robert Schumann’s loveliest music is like poetry. Listen to the famous piece “Traumerei”. Traumerei means ‘dreaming.’ https://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=6z82w0l6kwE
  36. 36. Traumerei is part no. 7 of his Kinderszenen (opus 15).
  37. 37. Other pieces in this work have names like Blind Man’s Buff (no. 3) and Knight of the Hobbyhorse (no. 9). ‘Kinderszenen’ means ‘Scenes from Childhood’. Robert Schumann loved children. He wrote piano music specifically for them in his Album for the Young.
  38. 38. He was a very good father to his family, and a good husband to Clara. The Schumann family was happy while he was alive and healthy.
  39. 39. Unfortunately, Robert was prone to mental illness. He eventually became completely insane.
  40. 40. It’s not clear exactly what went wrong inside his brain. He said he heard the note ‘A’ sounding inside his head and that it would not stop. He saw ghosts (one of his last great pieces of music, Ghosts Variations, opus 24, is based on the ghosts he saw). He became very depressed. He told Clara he needed to be in a mental hospital, away from her and the children. It was very sad for all of them.
  41. 41. There weren’t a lot of treatments or medicines for mental illnesses then. He died in 1856, still hospitalized. He was 46, and Clara was only 37.
  42. 42. Clara did not remarry. The Schumanns are buried in the same grave.
  43. 43. Robert made a friend before he went to the mental asylum. This was another astonishing pianist, Johannes Brahms, who fell desperately in love with Clara, while Robert was sick. Young Brahms. He was fourteen years younger than Clara.
  44. 44. When Robert died, Clara was free to marry Brahms. But she did not. So Brahms never married. Old Brahms
  45. 45. Brahms wrote Clara hundreds of letters. He wrote music for her. His last four songs (Serious Songs, opus 121) were written after she had a stroke, mourning for her, as she died. He helped her to promote Robert’s music. He even babysat for her, when she went on her concert tours to support the family as a single mother.
  46. 46. Brahms became one of the great composers. He composed some lovely piano music (which Clara introduced to the public), but we won’t have a slide show on him. Look him up, though. He wrote a lot more than just ‘Brahms’ lullaby’.
  47. 47. Clara composed some music herself, which is quite good. Robert had encouraged her with this. She was a bit shy about it. She stopped when he died. Some of her music is featured here: http://kidsmusiccorner.co.uk/compos ers/classical/clara-schumann/
  48. 48. It would have been a lot for her to continue to perform, and tour, as she did, and teach in one of the most important German music schools and take care of the eight children—and compose also. It’s amazing she managed as much as she did.
  49. 49. It won’t be so long before you can play some of Robert Schumann’s music for children. It’s not all that difficult. But it’s so interesting to play that concert pianists like to perform it. You have to have good technique for it.
  50. 50. I hope you will listen to some of his other music as well.  Carnaval , Opus 9  Symphonic Etudes, Opus 13 (what’s an etude?)  Kreisleriana, Opus 16
  51. 51. Next time we will talk about the ‘impressionist’ composer, Claude Debussy. For your homework, look up the impressionist painters. Look at some of their paintings.
  52. 52. Images from http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/196/4/325 http://www.pianisttopianist.com/?p=10 http://sessionville.com/articles/a-basic-guide-to-proper- piano-technique http://www.monarchwatch.org/garden/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Brahms https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Schumann https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Wieck https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Schumann https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Schumann http://www.musicacademyonline.com/composer/biographies.php? bid=51 https://pages.stolaf.edu/music242-spring2014/portfolio/a- final-love-letter-revisiting-brahmss-four-serious-songs/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Schumann#Papillons http://www.npr.org/2011/07/18/127038609/the-life-and- music-of-robert-schumann https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinderszenen#/media/File:Schu mann_-_Kinderszenen,_Op15_-_Score_1st_page.jpg

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