Schumann, Menschenskind!

A happy hour with the cello. © Charles Thibo

Robert Schumann. This man causes me pain. This man gives me joy. All at the same time. You may wonder why. Because of a stupid obsession of mine, one of these senseless ideas man comes up with to torture himself. Some time ago I have decided that I like Franz Schubert better than Schumann. I know both men’s works fairly well by now, and I hate to admit it, but if I am honest, Schumann is equal to Schubert. It. Can. Not. Be. I will never admit that in public. No way.

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To travel means to live, to live means to travel

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Flying away. © Charles Thibo

Usually I am glad to be at home. A calm, reassuring environment, a place to rest, a place to enjoy the company of friendly people, good music and books, excellent food, a wonderful garden and silent moments if there is a need for such moments. My life is neither too boring, nor marked by permanent dramas or excitements. It is exactly what I want it to be. Sometimes, however, sometimes a painful urge to get away knocks me out of my routine. From one second to the next I feel the desire to pack, to board a plane and to discover new worlds, disregarding my responsibilities as a husband and father. They call it the travel bug, apparently.

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A love story woven around a Romantic harp

Have a cheerful day! © Charles Thibo

Morning light. Peace. A day of joy is about to begin. Those were my thoughts a week ago when I rose on in the morning. A harp. Music with harp seemed to be appropriate to start the day. Here is what I came up with: In 1806 the German composer Louis Spohr wrote his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Harp in G major, WoO 13. A cheerful Romantic work, recorded by the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Marielle Nordmann (harp) and Pierre Amoyal (violin).

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Schumann leads the vanguard to the light

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The rule of darkness. © Charles Thibo

The first bars speak of clarity and of sadness. Of love and madness. This piece is a frightening good-bye. In a last burst of desperate creativity the composer wrote his own musical epitaph. I imagine him, at times fully aware of his mental illness, at times in total denial. I feel his pain, his loneliness. He is desperate, he is helpless. He is the recognized musical genius of his time, he is a withdrawn human wreck. Schumann.

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