Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/410

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398

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��ultimately came to nothing, chiefly because of the refusal of Buxton, the proprietor of the publishing firm of Ewer & Co., to bring out Paradise and the Peri ' with English words. Still Schumann, even long after, kept his eye steadily fixed on England. He was delighted at being told that Queen Victoria often listened to his music, and had had the Bb Symphony 1 played by the private band at Windsor, and he contemplated dedicating his Manfred music (op. 1 15) to Her Majesty, but the idea was given up.

Instead of going to England, they at length paid a visit to Vienna in the winter of 1 846. Here again Schumann conducted his Bb Symphony, and his wife played his Pianoforte Concerto. This was on Jan. I, 1847. But the public were per- fectly unsympathetic, and justified an earlier utterance of Schumann's that 'The Viennese are an ignorant people and know little of what goes on outside their own city.' Nor were matters much more satisfactory in Berlin, whither they went from Vienna to conduct ' Paradise and the Peri ' ; while in Prague, where they performed on their way, they met with the warmest reception.

The year 1844 was the last of Schumann's residence in Leipzig ; for in October he left the town where he had lived and worked with short intervals for fourteen years, and moved to Dresden. He had given up the editorship of the ' Neue Zeitschrift ' in July, and from April 3, 1843, had held a Professor's chair in the Con- servatorium, founded at Leipzig by Mendels- sohn's exertions, and opened on that date. [See vol. ii. 115, 28 1 a, 28 2 a.] He was professor of pianoforte-playing and composition; but his reserved nature was little suited to the duties of a teacher, though his name and the example afforded by his work were no doubt highly ad- vantageous to the infant Institution. Schumann had no disciples, properly speaking, either in the Conservatorium or as private pupils. In a letter to David from Dresden he incidentally men- tions Carl Hitter as having instruction from him, and as having previously been a pupil of Killer's ; and he writes to Hiller that he has brought young Hitter on a little. But what the style of Schumann's teaching may have been cannot be told; and a single exception only proves the rule.

The move to Dresden seems to have been chiefly on account of Schumann's suffering con- dition. His nervous affection rendered change of scene absolutely necessary to divert his thoughts. He had overworked himself into a kind of surfeit of music, so much BO that his medical attendant forbade his continually hear- ing it. In the musical world of Leipzig such a prohibition could not be strictly obeyed, but at Dresden it was quite different. 'Here,' he writes to David on Nov. 25, 1844, 'one can get back the old lost longing for music, there is so little to hear 1 It just suits my con- dition, for I still suffer very much from my nerves, and everything affects and exhausts

i The first performance of the Bt> Symphony in England was at the Philharmonic Concert, June 5. 1854.

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me directly.' Accordingly he at first lived in Dresden in the strictest seclusion. A friend sought him out there and found him so changed that he entertained grave fears for his life. On several occasions he tried sea-bathing, but it was long before his health can be said to have radically improved. In February, 1846, after a slight improvement, he again became very unwell, as he did also in the summer of the following year. He observed that he was unable to remember the melodies that occurred to him when composing ; the effort of invention fatiguing his mind to such a degree as to impair his memory. As soon as a lasting improvement took place in his health, he again devoted himself wholly to composition. He was now attracted more powerfully than before to complicated con- trapuntal forms. The 'Studies' and 'Sketches' for the pedal-piano (ops. 56 and 58), the six fugues on the name of 'Bach' (op. 60), and the four piano fugues (op. 72), owe their existence to this attrac- tion. The greatest work of the years 1 845-6 how- ever, was the C major Symphony (op. 61), which Mendelssohn produced at the Ge wandb.au s in Leipzig, Nov. 5, 1846. Slight intercourse with a few congenial spirits was now gradually resumed. Among those whom he saw was the widow of C. M. v. Weber (the ' Lina ' of Weber's letters), whose fine musical feeling was highly valued by Schumann. The first year in Dresden was spent with Ferdinand Hiller, who had been living there since the winter of 1844. Their intercourse gra- dually grew into a lively and lasting intimacy. When Hiller was getting up subscription concerts in the autumn of 1845, Schumann took an active share in the undertaking. With Richard Wagner, too, then Capellmeister at Dresden, he was on friendly terms. He was much interested in the opera of Tannhauser, and heard it often, express- ing his opinion of it in terms of great though not unqualified praise. 2 But the natures of the two musicians differed too widely to allow of any real sympathy between them. Wagner was always lively, versatile and talkative, while, since Schumann's illness, his former silence and reserve had increased, and even intimate friends, like Moscheles and Lipinski, had to lament that conversation with him was now scarcely possible. At the end of Schumann's collected works we find a ' Theaterbiichlein ' (1847-50) in which are given short notes of the impressions made upon him by certain operas. From this we learn that in 1 84 7 he went comparatively of ten to the theatre ; the reason being that at that time he himself was composing an opera. He had long cherished the idea. So early as Sept. i, 1842, he writes,

  • Do you know what is my morning and evening

prayer as an artist? German Opera. There is a, field for work.' He concludes a critique of an opera by Heinrich Esser in the number of the ' Zeit- schrift' for September 1842 with these significant words, ' It is high time that German composers should give the lie to the reproach that has long lain on them of having been so craven as to leave

2 See the entry under Aug. 7, 1847' Were he as melodious as he Is Intellectual (geistreich) he would be the man of the age. '

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