Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/51

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SYMPHONY.

and simple in style, and for Sclmmann, singu- larly bright and cheerful. The principles upon which he constructed and used his principal subjects in this movement are followed in the first movements of the other symphonies ; most of all in the D minor ; clearly in the C major ; and least in the Eb, which belongs to the later period of his life. But even in this last he aims at gaining the same result, though by dif- ferent means ; and the subject is as free as any from the tune-qualities which destroy the com- plete individuality of an instrumental subject in its most perfect and positive sense. In the first movement of the D minor he even went so far as to make some important departures from the usual outlines of form, which are rendered pos- sible chiefly by the manner in which he used the characteristic figure of his principal subject. It is first introduced softly in the latter part of the Introduction, and gains force quickly, so that in a few bars it breaks away in the vigorous and passionate allegro in the following form

��SYMPHONY.

��35

��which varies in the course of the movement to

���In one or other of these forms it continues almost ceaselessly throughout the whole move- ment, either as actual subject or accompaniment; in the second section it serves in the latter capacity. In the latter part of the working-out section a fresh subject of gentler character is introduced, seeming to stem and mitigate the vehemence expressed by the principal figures of the first subject : from the time this new subject makes its appearance there continues a sort of conflict between the two; the vehement subject constantly breaking in with apparently undimin- ished fire, and seeming at times to have the upper hand, till just at the end the major of the origi- nal key (D minor) is taken, and the more genial subject appears in a firm and more determined form, as if asserting its rights over the wild first subject ; and thereupon, when the latter reappears, it is in a much more genial character, and its reiteration at the end of the movement gives the impression of the triumph of hope and trust in good, over the seeds of passion and despair. The result of the method upon which the movement is developed is to give the impres- sion of both external and spiritual form. The requirements of key, modulation, and subject are fulfilled, though, from the point of view of classical orthodoxy, with unusual freedom. The spiritual form, the expression in musical terms of a type of mental conflict, so depicted that thinking beings can perceive the sequence to be true of themselves is also very prominent, and is the most important element in the work, as is the case in all Schumann's best works ; moreover in this movement everything is strongly individual, and warm with real musical life in

��his own style; which was not altogether the case with the first movement of the Bb. In the C major Symphony (op. 61) the first allegro is ushered in by a slow introduction of important and striking character, containing, like those of the two just mentioned, anticipations of ita principal figures. In the allegro the two principal subjects are extremely strong in character, and the consistent way in which the whole movement is developed upon the basis of their constituent figures, with allusions to those of the introduction, is most remarkable. Here again there is a sort of conflict between the principal ideas. The first subject is just stated twice (the second time with certain appropriate changes), and then a start is instantly made in the Dominant key, with new figures characteristic of the second section; transition is made to flat keys and back, and an allusion to the first subject ends the first half; but all is closely consistent, vigorous, and concise. The development portion is also most closely worked upon the principal subjects, which are treated, as it seems, exhaus- tively, presenting especially the figures of the second subject in all sorts of lights, and with freshness and warmth of imagination, and variety of tone and character. The recapitulation is pre- ceded by allusions to the characteristic features of the introduction, considerably transformed, but still sufficiently recognisable to tell their tale. The coda is made by fresh treatment of the figures of the principal subjects in vigorous and brilliant development.

The Symphony in Eb has no introduction, and Schumann seems to have aimed at getting his strong effects of subject in this case by means other than the vigorous and clear rhythmic forms which characterise the first movements of the earlier symphonies. The effect is obtained by syncopations and cross rhythms, which alter- nately obscure and strengthen the principal beats of the bar, and produce an effect of wild and passionate effort, which is certainly striking, though not so immediately intelligible as the rhythmic forms of the previous sym- phonies. The second subject is in strong con- trast, having a more gentle and appealing cha- racter ; but it is almost overwhelmed by the recurrence of the syncopations of the principal subject, which make their appearance with per- sistency in the second as in the first section, having in that respect a very clear poetical or spiritual meaning. The whole development of the movement is again consistent and impressive, though not so fresh as in the other symphonies. As a point characteristic of Schumann, the extreme conciseness of the first section of the first movement in the Bb, D minor, and C major Symphonies is to be noticed, as it bears strongly upon the cultivated judgment and intelligence which marks his treatment of this great instru- mental form. The first half is treated almost as pure exposition; the working-out having logi- cally the greater part of interesting development of the ideas. The recapitulation is generally free, and in the D minor Symphony is practically

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