chapter  7
25 Pages

Romantic Patriotism and the Building of Reputation

The Case of Robert Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri
WithAnja Bunzel

Robert Schumann’s secular oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri (Paradise and the Peri), which premiered on 4 December 1843 in the Leipzig Gewandhaus under Schumann’s own conductorship, was one of his most significant works. The words were adapted from Thomas Moore’s oriental tale “Paradise and Peri”, a story within Lalla Rookh (1817). This chapter is devoted to the reception history of Schumann’s Peri in Ireland and mainland Europe – with a particular focus on Dublin and Leipzig, between 1843 and 1854. Schumann’s Peri was a huge success in Germany and was soon performed in other European countries. John William Glover, the director of Dublin’s Royal Choral Institute (an institution founded to promote the musical experience of working-class Catholics) performed Schumann’s Peri on 10 February and 8 March 1854. The Dublin reception of the Peri was different to the response which it received in Leipzig, reflecting regional socio-political concerns. These seemingly different responses, however, can be understood as articulating nineteenth-century patriotism as a pan-European phenomenon.