Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/53

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SYMPHONY.

full; and some of them are singular in the fact that they form an independent little section con- veying its own ideas apart from those of the principal subjects. His finales are less remark- able on general grounds, and on the whole less interesting than his other movements. The diffi- culty of conforming to the old type of light movements was even more'severe for him than it was for Beethoven, and hence he was the more constrained to follow the example set by Bee- thoven of concluding with something weighty and forcible, which should make a fitting crown to the work in those respects, rather than on the principle of sending the audience away in a good humour. In the Bb Symphony only does the last movement aim at gaiety and lightness ; in the other three symphonies and the Overture, Scherzo, and Finale, the finales are all of the same type, with broad and simple subjects and strongly emphasised rhythms. The rondo form is only obscurely hinted at in one ; in the others the development is very free, but based on binary form; and the style of expression and develop- ment is purposely devoid of elaboration.

Besides the points which have been already mentioned in the development of the individual movements, Schumann's work is conspicuous for his attempts to bind the whole together in various ways. Not only did he make the movements run into each other, but in several places he connects them by reproducing the ideas of one movement in others, and even by using the same important features in different guises as the essen- tial basis of different movements. In the Sym- phony in C there are some interesting examples of this ; but the Symphony in D is the most remarkable experiment of the kind yet produced, and may be taken as a fit type of the highest order. In the first place all the movements run into each other except the first and second ; and even there the first movement is purposely so ended as to give a sense of incompleteness unless the next movement is proceeded with at once. The first subject of the first movement and the first of the last are connected by a strong characteristic figure, which is common to both of them. The persistent way in which this figure is used in the first movement has already been described. It is not maintained to the same extent in the last movement ; but it makes a strong impression in its place there, partly by its appearing conspicuously in the accompaniment, and partly by the way it is led up to in the sort of intermezzo which connects the scherzo and the last movement, where it seems to be introduced at first as a sort of re- minder of the beginning of the work, and as if suggesting the clue to its meaning and purpose ; and is made to increase in force with each re- petition till the start is made with the finale. In the same manner the introduction is connected with the slow movement or romanze, by the use of its musical material for the second division of that movement; and the figure which is most conspicuous in the middle of the romanze runs all through the trio of the succeeding movement. So

��SYMPHONY.

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��that the series of movements are as it were inter- laced by their subject-matter; and the result is that the whole gives the impression of a single and consistent musical poem. The way in which the subjects recur may suggest different ex- planations to different people, and hence it is dangerous to try and fix one in definite terms describing particular circumstances. But the important fact is that the work can be felt to represent in its entirety the history of a series of mental or emotional conditions such as may be grouped round one centre ; in other words, the group of impressions which go to make the innermost core of a given story seems to be faithfully expressed in musical terms and in accordance with the laws which are indispens- able to a work of art. The conflict of impulses and desires, the different phases of thought and emotion, and the triumph or failure of the different forces which seem to be represented, all give the impression of belonging to one personality, and of being perfectly consistent in their relation to one another; and by this means a very high example of all that most rightly belongs to programme music is presented. Schumann how- ever wisely gave no definite clue to fix the story in terms. The original autograph has the title ' Symphonische Fantaisie fur grosses Orchester, skizzirt im Jahre 1841; neu instrumentirt 1851.' In the published score it is called 'Symphony,' and numbered as the fourth, though it really came second. Schumann left several similar examples in other departments of instrumental music, but none so fully and carefully carried out. In the department of Symphony he never again made so elaborate an experiment. In his last, however, that in Eb, he avowedly worked on impressions which supplied him with some- thing of a poetical basis, though he does not make use of characteristic figures and subjects to con- nect the movements with one another. The impressive fourth movement is one of the most singular in the range of symphonic music, and is meant to express the feelings produced in him by the ceremonial at the enthronement of a Cardinal in Cologne Cathedral. The last move- ment has been said to embody ' the bustle and flow of Rhenish holiday life, on coming out into the town after the conclusion of the ceremony in the Cathedral.' l Of the intention of the scherzo nothing special is recorded, but the principal subject has much of the ' local colour ' of the German national dances.

As a whole, Schumann's contributions to the department of Symphony are by far the most important since Beethoven. As a master of orchestration he is less certain than his fellows of equal standing. There are passages which rise to the highest points of beauty and effectiveness, as in the slow movement of the C major Sym- phony; and his aim to balance his end and his means was of the highest, and the way in which he works it out is original ; but both the bent of his mind and his education inclined him to be occasionally less pellucid than his prede-

i For Schumann's Intention see Wassielewsky. 3rd ed. 2C9. 272.

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