Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/427

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various ways. But Wasielewski is mistaken in saying (3rd ed. p. 178, note) that the piit lento over the coda in these variations is a misprint for piii mosso. Schumann wrote piit lento quite plainly, and evidently meant what he wrote. He may possibly have changed his mind after- wards, for in regard to tempo he was often accessible to the opinions of others.

Of the works for strings and pianoforte, the Quintet (op. 44) is of course the finest. Nay more : it is undoubtedly the best piece of cham- ber music since Beethoven, and will always keep its place in the first rank of musical masterpieces. This quintet claims the highest admiration, not only because of its brilliant originality, and its innate power which seems to grow with every movement, and at the end of the whole leaves the hearer with a feeling of the possibility of never-ending increase but also because of its gorgeous beauty of sound, and the beautiful and well-balanced relations between the pianoforte and the strings. Musicians are still living, like Carl Keinecke of Leipzig, who at the time of its appearance were in the most susceptible period of youth, and who tell of the indescribable im- pression the work made upon them. It must have seemed like a new paradise of beauty re- vealed to their view. The Pianoforte Quartet (op. 47) only wants animation, and a more popular character in the best sense of the word, to make it of equal merit with the Quintet. There is much in it of the spirit of Bach, as is perhaps most evident in the wonderful melody of the Andante. A high rank is taken by the Trios in D minor (op. 63) and F major (op. 80), both, as well as the quintet and quartet, written in one and the same year. In the first a passionate and sometimes gloomy character predominates, while the second is more cheerful and full of warmth in the middle movements. The canonic style is employed in the Adagios of both trios with new and powerful effect. The treatment of the strings with respect to the pianoforte may here and there be considered too orchestral in style ; but it must not be forgotten that it was adopted to suit the piano style, which in Schu- mann is very different from that of the classical masters and of Mendelssohn. The two trios, however, are wanting in that expression of perfect health which is so prominent in both the quintet and the quartet. They show traces of the hurry and breathless haste which in his later years increases the complication of his rhythms. The third and last Trio (G minor, op. no) is far inferior to the others. There is still the same artistic design, and in isolated passages the noble genius of the master still shines clearly out ; but as a whole this trio tells of exhaustion. The same may be said of most of the other chamber works of Schumann's latest years. Among them are two sonatas for piano and violin, gloomy, impassioned compositions, which can hardly be listened to without a feeling of oppression. There are also a number of shorter pieces for different instruments, among which the ' Marchenbilder fiir Pianoforte und Viola' (op. 113) are promi-



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��nent. No one who bears in mind Schumann's ultmate fate can hear without emotion the last of these ' Marchenbilder,' which bears the direc- tion 'Langsam, mit melancholischem Ausdruck* (Slowly, with an expression of melancholy).

In the sphere of the concerto Schumann has left an imperishable trace of his genius in the Pianoforte Concerto in A minor (op. 54). It is one of his most beautiful and mature works. In addition to all his peculiar originality it has also the qualities, which no concerto should lack, of external brilliancy, and striking, powerful, well rounded subjects. The first movement is written in a free form with happy effect ; the cause being that Schumann had at first intended it to stand as an independent piece, with the title

  • Fantasia.' He did not add the other two move-

ments until two years afterwards. The ' Intro- duction und Allegro appassionato,' for pianoforte and orchestra (op. 92), is a rich addition to concerto literature. In Schumann there is a deeper connection between the pianoforte and orchestra than had before been customary, though not carried to such a point as to interfere with the contrast between the two independent powers. He was far from writing symphonies with the pianoforte obbligato. His other works in concerto- form, written in the last years of his life, do not attain to the height of the Concerto. Among them is an unpublished violin concerto written between Sept. 21 and Oct. 3, 1853, and consist- ing of the following movements: (i) D minor alia breve, 'Im kraftigen, nicht zu schnellen Tempo'; (2)Bb major, common time, 'Langsam'; (3) D major, 3-4, 'Lebhaft, doch nicht zu schnell.' The autograph is in the possession of Joachim. A Fantasia for violin and orchestra, dedicated to the same great artist, is published as op. 131. The Violoncello Concerto (op. 129) is remarkable for a very beautiful slow middle movement. There is also a Concerto for four horns and orchestra (op. 86). Schumann himself thought very highly of this piece, partly because, as he wrote to Dr. Hartel, ' it was quite curious.' It is indeed the only attempt made in modern times to revive the form of the old Concerto grosso which Sebastian Bach had brought to perfection in his six so-called * Brandenburg ' concertos. As these concertos of Bach were not printed until 1850, and Schumann can scarcely have known them in manuscript, it is a remarkable and interesting coincidence that he should thus have followed Bach's lead without knowing it. The piece is particularly hard for the first horn, because of the high notes. When well rendered it has a peculiarly sonorous, often very romantic effect, to which however the ear soon becomes insensible from the tone of the four horns.

In his account of Marschner's 'Klange aus Osten,' a work performed in Leipzig on Oct. 22, 1840, Schumann says : ' We must admire the pattern which the composer has felt himself en- couraged to set, and which others need only follow, to enrich the concert-room with a new form of music.' The ' Klange aus Osten ' consist of an overture, solos, and choruses, and treat of

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