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.
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.
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).
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 He is the recognized musical genius of his time, he is a withdrawn human wreck.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.