Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/409

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�� ��SCHUMANN.

Leipzig, July 22, all of the same year. Thus the two last movements took the composer only one day each. These quartets, which are dedicated to Mendelssohn, were at once taken up by the Leipzig musicians with great interest. The praise bestowed upon them by Ferdinand David called forth a letter from Schumann, addressed to him, which merits quotation, as showing how modest and how ideal as an artist Schumann was:

  • Hiirtel told me how very kindly you had spoken

to him about my quartets, and, coming from you, it gratified me exceedingly. But I shall have to do better yet, and 1 feel, with each new work, as if I ought to begin all over again from the beginning.' In the beginning of October of this year the quartets were played at David's house ; Hauptinann was present, and expressed his sur- prise at Schumann's talent, which, judging only from the earlier pianoforte works, he had fancied not nearly so great. With each new work Schu- mann now made more triumphant way at all events in Leipzig. The same year witnessed the production of that work to which he chiefly owes his fame throughout Europe the Quintet for Pianoforte and Strings (op. 44). The first public performance took place in the Gewandhaus on Jan. 8, 1843, his wife, to whom it is dedicated, taking the pianoforte part. Berlioz, who came to Leipzig in 1843, and there made Schumann's per- sonal acquaintance, heard the quintet performed, and carried the fame of it to Paris. Besides the quintet, Schumann wrote, in 1842, the Pianoforte Quartet (op. 47) and a pianoforte Trio. The trio, however, remained unpublished for eight years, and then appeared as op. 88, under the title of ' Phantasiestiicke for Pianoforte, Violin, and Violoncello.' The quartet too was laid aside for a time ; it was first publicly performed on Dec. 8, 1844, by Madame Schumann, in the Gewandhaus, David of course taking the violin part, and Niels W. Gade, who was directing the Gewandhaus concerts that winter, playing the viola.

With the year 1843 came a total change of style. The first works to appear were the Va- riations for two pianos (op. 46), which are now so popular, and to which Mendelssohn may have done some service by introducing them to the public, in company with Madame Schumann, on Aug. 19, 1843. The principal work of the year, however, was ' Paradise and the Peri,' a grand composition for solo- voices, chorus, and orchestra, to a text adapted from Moore's 'Lalla Rookh.' The enthusiasm created by this work at its first performance (Dec. 4, 1843), conducted by the composer himself, was so great that it had to be repeated a week afterwards, on Dec. 1 1 , and on the 23rd of the same month it was performed in the Opera House at Dresden. It will be easily believed that from this time Schumann's fame was firmly established in Germany, although it took twenty years more to make his work widely and actually popular. Having been so fortunate in his first attempt in a branch of art hitherto untried by him, he felt induced to undertake another work of the same kind, and in 1844

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��began writing the second of his two most im- portant choral works, namely, the music to Goethe's ' Faust.' For some time however the work consisted only of four numbers. His uninter- rupted labours had so affected his health, that in this year he was obliged for a time to forego all exertion of the kind.

The first four years of his married life were passed in profound retirement, but very rarely interrupted. In the beginning of 1842 he ac- companied his wife on a concert-tour to Ham- burg, where the Bb Symphony was performed. Madame Schumann then proceeded alone to Co- penhagen, while her husband returned to his quiet retreat at Leipzig. In the summer of the same year the two artists made an excursion into Bohemia, and at Konigswart were presented to Prince Metternich, who invited them to Vienna. Schumann at first took some pleasure in these tours, but soon forgot it in the peace and com- fort of domestic lite, and it cost his wife great trouble to induce him to make a longer journey to Russia in the beginning of 1844. Indeed she only succeeded by declaring that she would make the tour alone if he would not leave home. 'How unwilling I am to move out of my quiet round,' he wrote to a friend, 'you must not expect me to tell you. I cannot think of it without the greatest annoyance.' However, he made up his mind to it, and they started on Jan. 26. His wife gave concerts in Mitau, Riga, Petersburg and Moscow; and the enthusiasm with which she was everywhere received attracted fresh at- tention to Schumann's works, the constant aim of her noble endeavours. Schumann himself, when once he had parted from home, found much to enjoy in a journey which was so decidedly and even brilliantly successful. At St. Petersburg he was received with undiminished cordiality by his old friend Henselt, who had made himself a new home there. At a soire'e at Prince Olden- burg's Henselt played with Madame Schumann her husband's Variations for two pianos. The Bb Symphony was also performed under Schu- mann's direction at a soiree given by the Counts Joseph and Michael Wielhorsky, highly esteemed musical connoisseurs ; and it is evident that the dedication of Schumann's PF. Quartet (op. 47 ) to a Count Wielhorsky was directly connected with this visit.

In June they were once more in Leipzig, and so agreeable were the reminiscences of the jour- ney that Schumann was ready at once with a fresh plan of the same kind this time for a visit to England with his wife in the following year ; not, indeed, as he had once intended, with a view to permanent residence, but merely that she might win fresh laurels as a player, and he make himself known as a composer. He proposed to conduct parts of 'Paradise and the Peri' in London, and anticipated a particular success for it because the work ' had as it were sprung from English soil, and was one of the sweetest flowers of English verse.' On June 27, 1844, he writes to Moscheles concerning the project, which had the full support of Mendelssohn ; but the schema

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