Schumann Liederkreis, op. 39 – Introduction

11 05 2011

The academic year has come to a close, and with it, my absence from this blog! In this welcome hiatus from the daily routine of teaching lessons and classes, I am excited to work on my own projects.

On October 14th, 2011 at 7:30 PM, I am scheduled to give a recital with pianist Andrew Fleser at Concordia College in Moorhead. On the program (tentatively) are Schumann’s Liederkreis, Op. 39 (Literally, “Song Cycle”), John Duke’s 3 “people” songs, and Auric’s Huit poemes de Jean Cocteau. I have performed the Duke and Auric before, but not the Schumann. I know I have heard the Liederkreis in the past, but it has never gripped me the way Schumann’s iconic song cycles Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe und -leben have. I think it’s time that changed.

I am going to take a new approach to learning this cycle by translating, considering, meditating upon, and memorizing the texts first, without the aid of music. I want to come up with my own sense of the story and become intimately familiar with the words and the characters before I begin to be influenced by Schumann’s ideas. This may be difficult as I have already spent a bit of time looking over the pieces this spring while trying to decide whether or not to commit to the cycle, but I intend to try.

I invite you to come with me on this journey over the next several weeks. I’m going to write about a song text each day, without sheet music (readily available at IMSLP or in many published editions) and without performance examples. Particularly because the title “Song Cycle” does not imply any story or anything other than the fact that the pieces are part of a whole, it will be an adventure!

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