chapter  3
50 Pages

Robert Schumann: The Poet Sings

WithRufus Hallmark

After Schubert, the name most closely and frequently linked with the German Lied is Schumann. And with good reason. Schumann may have composed fewer than half as many songs as his illustrious predecessor, but his Lieder clearly rank alongside Schubert’s in musical beauty and expression, poetic sensibility, and the enthusiasm with which they are received by performers and listeners alike. And though Schumann was ambitious to leave his mark in the realm of large orchestral, chamber, and vocalorchestral forms-and did so-it is by his miniatures, his short piano pieces and his songs, that he is best remembered and for which he receives the highest and least adulterated praise. One can certainly add the distinction, however, that these very miniatures are best known in their aggregate forms, the extended piano and song cycles that are perhaps his most characteristic contribution to nineteenth-century music.