Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/417

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SCHUMANN.

better, his outward demeanour was almost the same as before. He corresponded with his friends and' received visits, but gradually the pinions of his soul drooped and fell, and he died in the arms of his wife, July 29, 1856, only 46 years of age. Soon after Schumann's death his music achieved a popularity in Germany which will bear com- parison with that of the most favourite of the older masters. When once the peculiarities of his style grew familiar, it was realised that these very peculiarities had their origin in the deepest feelings of the nation. The desire of giving outward expression to the love which was felt towards him, soon asserted itself more and more strongly. Schumann was buried at Bonn, in the churchyard opposite the Sternenthor, and it was resolved to erect a monument to him there. On Aug. 17, 1 8 and 19, 1873, a Schumann festival took place at Bonn, consisting entirely of the masters compositions. The conducting was undertaken by Joachim and Wasielewski, and among the performers were Madame Schu- mann, who played her husband's Pianoforte Con- certo, and Stockhausen. The festival was one of overwhelming interest, owing to the sympathy taken in it, and the manner in which that sym- pathy was displayed. The proceeds of the con- certs were devoted to a monument to Schumann's memory, which was executed by A. Donndorf of Stuttgart, erected over the grave, and unveiled on May 2, 1 880. On this occasion also a concert took place, consisting of compositions by Schu- mann, and Brahms's Violin Concerto (op. 77), conducted by himself, and played by Joachim.

��SCHUMANN.

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��Schumann, with his activity both as an author and as a composer, was a new phenomenon in German music. It is true that he had had a predecessor in this respect in C. M. von Weber, who also had a distinct gift and vocation for authorship, and whose collected writings form a literary monument possessing far more than a merely personal interest. Still Weber was pre- vented by circumstances and by his own natural restlessness from fully developing his literary talent, while Schumann benefitted by the restraint and discipline of his ten years of editorship. In 1854 he had his 'Gesammelte Schriften iiber Musik und Musiker ' published in four volumes by Wigand in Leipzig, and it was not long in reaching its second edition, which appeared in two volumes in 1871. This collection however is not nearly complete, and the essays it includes have been much altered. A full and correct edition of his writings is still a desideratum.

It must not however be imagined that Schu- mann's aim as an author was to lay down the principles on which he worked as a composer; it is indeed hardly possible to contrast the criti- cal and the productive elements in his works. His authorship and his musical compositions were two distinct phases of a creative nature, and if it was by composition that he satisfied his purely musical craving it was by writing that he gave utterance to his poetical instincts. His essays are

��for the most part rather rhapsodies on musical works, or poetical imagery lavished on musical sub- jects, than criticisms properly speaking; and the cases where he writes in the negative vein are very rare exceptions. A high ideal floats before his mind, and supported by the example of the greatest masters of the art, his one aim is to introduce a new and pregnant period of music in contrast to the shallowness of his own time. Again and again he speaks of this as the ' poetic phase ' and here we must guard against a mis- understanding. The term poetic music is often used in antithesis to pure music, to indicate a work based on a combination of poetry and music ; as, for instance, a Song, which may be conceived of either as a purely musical compo- sition founded on the union of definite feelings and ideas, or as intended to express the precon- ceived emotions and ideas of the poet. But it was not anything of this kind that Schumann meant to .convey : he simply regarded poetry aa the antithesis to prose, just as enthusiasm is the antithesis to sober dulness, the youthful rhap- sodist to the Philistine, the artist with his lofty ideal to the mechanical artisan or the superficial dilettante. His aim is to bring to birth a living art, full of purpose and feeling, and he cannot endure a mere skeleton of forms and phrases. In this key he pitches his writings on music, and their purport is always the same. He once speaks of reviewers and critics under a quaint simile 'Music excites the nightingale to love- songs, the lap-dog to bark.' Nothing could more accurately represent his own attitude in writing on music than the first of these images. From his point of view a piece of music ought to rouse in the true critic sympathetic feeling, he ought to absorb and assimilate its contents, and then echo them in words Schumann was in fact the singing nightingale. Though we may not feel inclined to apply his other comparison to every critic who does not follow in his steps, we may at least say that the difference between Schu- mann's style and that of the musical periodicals of his day was as great as that between a night- ingale and a lap-dog. And how strange and new were the tones uttered by this poet-critic ! A considerable resemblance to Jean Paul must be admitted, particularly in his earlier critiques : the ecstatic youthful sentiment, the humorous suggestions, the highly wrought and dazzling phraseology, are common to both ; but the style is quite different. Schumann commonly writes in short and vivid sentences, going straight at his subject without digressions, and indulging in bold abbreviations. There is a certain indolence of genius about him, and yet a sure artistic in- stinct throughout. Nor has he a trace of Jean Paul's sentimental ' luxury of woe,' but we every- where find, side by side with emotional rhapsody, the refreshing breeziness of youth and health.

It has already been said that Schumann con- nects certain definite characteristics with dif- ferent feigned names (Florestan, Eusebius, Raro, etc.), a device which none but a poet could have hit on. Indeed, it would be a hindrance to the

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