“They are very imaginative, but difficult to grasp, they transport a very peculiar mood”, Clara Schumann noted in her diary. The composer himself, Robert Schumann, explained in a letter to his publisher: These are pieces of music narrating the sensations when the morning [twilight] is approaching and growing more intensely, conceived as a feeling rather than as an image.” The letter was dated 24 February 1854. Three days before Schumann tried to commit suicide. Which morning did Schumann think about?
So typically Schumann! The summer hasn’t reached its climax yet, but I am thinking about autumn already. No, Robert Schumann does that, and I am just his eager follower. Never really in the present, always somewhere else, always ahead of the rest of the world and looking back with nostalgic feelings – if there’s a way to inflict suffering upon oneself, Schumann is sure to find it. His Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Minor (op. 105) works exactly this way. How sweet it is to imagine myself remembering in September the warm summer evenings, the lush colours of nature, the particular smell of dry grass, the play of the fireflies.How delicious it is to anticipate the coming melancholia.
Pulsation. Dynamics. Passion. Beauty. Sublimity. Eternity. On 29 May 1841, Robert Schumann noted he had the “hint of a thought for a symphony”. A day later, his wife Clara Wieck made an entry into the Schumann’s common diary: “Yesterday [Robert] has started to write another symphony, that should comprise only one movement, but also an adagio and a fugue. I haven’t heard anything yet, but I observe Robert being busy, and at times I hear that D minor sound wildly from afar and I know that this works comes from the depth of his soul.” What an admirable description!
I remember that first evening. It was a cold autumn day, and I had nothing to do. I decided to visit a woman I hadn’t seen for a long time. She had bought a house, and I was curious about her, the house and her life in it. It was the very house I live in now, but it looked very different then. The focal point of the living room was a red couch that now serves as a guest bed. And while we sat on that cozy couch, a funny incident in the kitchen made me jump. The woman laughed out loud and before I could say anything, she got up and said: “Dinner is ready!” More laughter.