Music plays a very important role in our life. Moreover, in the modern world are highly valued works of composers from the past. Robert Schumann born in 1810 was a popular composer who lived in the romantic era and had an interesting early childhood.
His journey in music began very early and at only seven years old, he composed his first piece which was a great achievement for his age even though he never complied with formal writing rules. At seven years, he had exposure to the piano and general music. From 1832-1839, he concentrated on writing unique piano pieces with the peak of his career in 1840 when he wrote more than 138 songs.
The following are five famous Schumann pieces that continue to hold great significance in today’s music industry:
Symphony No.1 or in other words Spring Symphony is the first symphonic composition project by Robert Schumann. Even though he had attempted symphony composition before soon after he got married to his wife Clara, it wasn’t until 1841 that he officially composed his first symphony.
The motivation for Symphony no. 1 is credited to his wife who encouraged him to go ahead and write symphony music. The support Schumann received from his family enabled him to sketch Symphony no.1 in four days only and completed it within a month. The symphony is energetic and Schumann does well when it comes to developing themes and utilizing them. At its premier, Felix Mendelssohn took charge of conducting the symphony.
This piece was written in 1841 but published much later. Compared to the first piece, it carries a different sound which is interesting taking into account both were written around the same time. This composition sounds sad and is therefore, commonly associated with a funeral setting.
This composition took long to be published which was an indicator Schumann could have made some revisions more so in orchestration. The four movements even though structurally incomplete, are supposed to be played without any break in between them. When put together, they become a large-scale formal design. Schumann has contemplated naming this piece Symphonic Fantasia because of how it was designed.
Like a funeral march by Chopin, Piano Concerto is one of the most popular compositions by Schumann. However, he adopts a faster theme on this piece which is in three movements namely A minor, F Major and A Major. Between the last two movements, there is no break. Even though the piece has three movements, it has maintained the characteristics of a fantasy.
The idea behind Piano Concerto is the longing of happiness and joy between two people who love each other. This piece is basically about Schumann’s quest to fight for his love with his wife Clara, so she becomes the centerpiece of this composition. The key theme of the first movement resembles Fidelio, Beethoven’s opera specifically Florestan aria melody. Schumann believed this theme was the best way to express a connection between the struggle for freedom and loyalty.
Another popular piece by Schumann is Piano Quintet in E-flat Major. This piece has earned Robert Schumann great respect among piano quintets. Even though, he is regarded as an instrumental music composer, E flat Quintet is a product of endless creativity and imagination.
This piece shares a lot of similarities with Mendelssohn which isn’t surprising considering he was a close friend to Schumann.
Listen to Carnaval – an example of the piano play. This piece resembles early jazz but also has classical music in it. It draws inspiration from theme variations from Franz Schubert’s Sehnsuchtswalzer. Schumann was among the first composers who came to know about Schubert’s work and helped to make him famous.
Allegro brillante, the first movement begins on a happy note after the texture has adopted a gentle tone. Carnaval which consists of 20 piano pieces was completed eight years after Beethoven had died.
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