Schumann: A Tribute To Bach (staier)

Album cover art for upc 794881891429
Catalog: 901989
Format: CD

Andreas Staier

Schumann pays his respects to Bach on a variety of levels. The Kinderszenen op. 15 (1838) are framed by two pieces whose titles hardly seem to fit the theme of "childhood": at the beginning Of foreign countries and people, at the end The poet speaks. Early Schumann loved hidden allusions, and here the detour seems to lead to one of his favourite writers, E. T. A. Hoffmann. In his Kreisleriana there appears an "unknown, handsome man", "strangely educated and dressed", who tells "of the many unknown lands and strange people". Elsewhere it is suggested that this stranger embodies J. S. Bach, the mythical forefather, the "high power from a strange, fabulous time". The children's scenes therefore do not simply depict a day from childhood, but revolve around the central theme of Hoffmann's fairy tale: a return to childhood as an age of still unspoiled intuition and imagination. Hand in hand with this, the musical return to the distant Baroque period is suggested as a path of musical purification, ultimately as a perspective for aesthetic progress. Schumann gives discreet indications of this reference by introducing the B-A-C-H motif in the tenor right at the beginning of the first piece "Von fremden Ländern ...". At the end of the cycle, "the poet" begins a chorale - Bachian genre par excellence - which he interrupts with a recitative: he no longer sings, he "speaks", and even this only hesitantly

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