Tag Archives: Robert Schumann

Chopin on Schumann on Chopin


Robert Schumann’s celebrated assessment of Frédéric Chopin—“Hut ab, ihr Herren, ein Genie!” (Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!)—appeared in his 1831 review of Chopin’s variations on “Là ci darem la mano”, op. 2. This rhapsodic description, cast as a conversation between imaginary characters, somehow reached Chopin’s hands. While relations between the two composers were cordial, a letter from Chopin to a friend hints at his unvarnished reaction:

“I received a few days ago a ten-page review from a German in Kassel who is full of enthusiasm for [the variations]. After a long-winded preface he proceeds to analyze them bar by bar, explaining that they are not ordinary variations but a fantastic tableau. In the second variation he says that Don Giovanni runs around with Leporello; in the third he kisses Zerlina while Massetto’s rage is pictured in the left hand—and in the fifth bar of the Adagio he declares that Don Giovanni kisses Zerlina on the D-flat…I could die of laughing at this German’s imagination.”

This according to “Schumann and Chopin: from Carnaval to Kreisleriana” by Judith Chernaik (The musical times CLVII/1934 [spring 2016] pp. 67–78).

Below, Alice Burla performs the work in question.

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Filed under Humor, Romantic era

Studien zum Dresdner Musikleben im 19. Jahrhundert

Verlag Dohr launched the series Studien zum Dresdner Musikleben im 19. Jahrhundert  in  2010 with Schumann und Dresden. Edited by Thomas Synofzik and Hans-Günter Ottenberg, the book presents papers from Robert und Clara Schumann in Dresden: Biographische, kompositionsgeschichtliche und soziokulturelle Aspekte, a conference held in Dresden from 15 to 16 May 2008.

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Filed under New series, Romantic era