Author Topic: Schumann's greatest work?  (Read 16436 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline cliftwood

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Schumann's greatest work?
« on: July 16, 2009, 12:48:06 PM »
I believe that the Fantasie, Op.17, of all his compositions for the piano, represents best his superb ability to compose for the keyboard.

I know that it's a tough call, considering his wealth of great works, but it's the one I's select, if I only had one choice.

I'll now duck for cover. ;D

hornteacher

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 12:52:20 PM »
Personally I would select either Carnaval or the Piano Concerto, but that's just me.  You could just as easily make a case for Fantasie.  Its fortunate for us he wrote so much good stuff.

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14262
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 01:03:54 PM »
The Fantasie is not a crazy choice, and certainly shouldn't draw negative remarks, though I'd opt for Carnaval if forced to choose.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline DavidRoss

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7594
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 01:05:05 PM »
I believe that the Fantasie, Op.17, of all his compositions for the piano, represents best his superb ability to compose for the keyboard.

I know that it's a tough call, considering his wealth of great works, but it's the one I's select, if I only had one choice.

I'll now duck for cover. ;D
I'm not that well acquainted with Schumann's music, since most of what I have heard has struck me as derivative and uninspired, even turgid.  I do, however, like his Piano Quintet, op 44, very much, as one of the most persistently light and gay chamber pieces I know.  I also rather like both Carnaval and the op 12 Fantasie, though neither measures up in my mind to the music of his great predecessors or those who came after.  I do not know the op 17 but will keep an ear out for it--and for whatever other pieces respondents here praise.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19716
    • Brian's blog
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 01:07:21 PM »
If I had to choose exactly 1 Schumann work to keep in my collection by a Schumann-obsessed burglar, I would keep the Fantasie in C Op. 17. Whether that means it's the greatest ... well, who knows. :) The songs I've heard are wonderful, which is interesting because I am usually not at all a fan of vocal music.

Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009, 01:56:49 PM »
If I had to choose exactly 1 Schumann work to keep in my collection by a Schumann-obsessed burglar, I would keep the Fantasie in C Op. 17. Whether that means it's the greatest ... well, who knows. :) The songs I've heard are wonderful, which is interesting because I am usually not at all a fan of vocal music.

Schumann has been rising steadily in my estimation, but not because of the widely admired (here anyway) Fantasie in C, which almost drowned my Schumann enthusiasm.  The chamber music with piano and concerto are outstanding, but if I had to choose one work of Schumann's to keep it would probably be the Symphony #4 (in it's original version).  A close second might be the Symphony #1.   When played well the thickness or monotony of orchestration which is frequently decried in Schumann's symphonies works drops away.   They really are fresh and imaginative works, to my ears.  Lately I find Schumann a worthy successor to Beethoven in his symphonic output.

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2009, 02:35:30 PM »
I'd choose the Davidsbundlertanze followed closely by Kreisleriana and Kinderzenen.

Offline cliftwood

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2009, 03:50:20 PM »
I'm not that well acquainted with Schumann's music, since most of what I have heard has struck me as derivative and uninspired, even turgid.  I do, however, like his Piano Quintet, op 44, very much, as one of the most persistently light and gay chamber pieces I know.  I also rather like both Carnaval and the op 12 Fantasie, though neither measures up in my mind to the music of his great predecessors or those who came after.  I do not know the op 17 but will keep an ear out for it--and for whatever other pieces respondents here praise.

Since you are "not that well acquainted with Schumann's music", I'm really curious in knowing what music strikes you as "derivative, uninspired and turgid".

My suspicion is that your ranking of Schumann as a lesser composer will not jibe with the opinion of most of the folks on this forum.

ChamberNut

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2009, 04:20:32 PM »
My suspicion is that your ranking of Schumann as a lesser composer will not jibe with the opinion of most of the folks on this forum.

Agreed.  Personally, I like his Piano Concerto and Cello Concerto, with the Piano Quintet the best.  Also the 1st and 3rd string quartet, and all the symphonies I enjoy equally (some of my favorite early Romantic era symphonies).

Offline DavidRoss

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7594
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 04:25:56 PM »
Since you are "not that well acquainted with Schumann's music", I'm really curious in knowing what music strikes you as "derivative, uninspired and turgid".

My suspicion is that your ranking of Schumann as a lesser composer will not jibe with the opinion of most of the folks on this forum.
The orchestral music, like the piano concerto, the violin concerto, & the symphonies especially (the cello concerto is a bit more appealing, but still hardly rises to the level of the best, such as the Elgar, the Dvorak, or the Prokofiev near-VCC).  Also the song cycles I've heard, like Frauenliebe und -leben, & Dichterliebe have been rather disappointing given the high regard so many seem to have for them.  The best I've heard from him is, as suggested above, some of the solo piano music and chamber music.  

I'm willing to be converted, but mostly what I've heard has been the stuff that most folks have recommended over the years and it just hasn't much excited me, Harris.  If you have any other suggestions I'll be glad to consider them.  (By the way, I have op 17 cued up for listening later if I get the opportunity to give it my undivided attention.)
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

George

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 06:40:14 PM »
Kinderszenen has always been my favorite.

ChamberNut

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 06:43:42 PM »
Kinderszenen has always been my favorite.

Terrific!  I also like the Waldszenen very much.

Offline snyprrr

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10762
  • SQs, PQs, PQTs, PTs, VSs, Berlioz-Xenakis/Aperghis
  • Currently Listening to:
    Things that are crisp and spritely vs. things that are thick and creamy
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 08:27:36 PM »
Cello Concerto in A minor (orch. Shostakovich) ;D
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

Haydn-Sikh

Offline Nick

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 136
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 08:48:21 PM »
The Symphonische Etuden, Op.13 with the posthumous etudes is an easy favorite for me, as is the Kreisleriana, Op.16.

I'd have to relisten to the Hyperion Schumann Edition to pick out a song cycle. I also remember being particularly impressed by his pieces for solo chorus. Almost everything among the lieder, to me, is sublime.

The Sonata for Violin and Piano, No.1, Op.105 is a wonderful piece, and really disproves the whole idea about Schumann getting on in years.

There's too many fantastic pieces to pick out a best.

Offline The new erato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14082
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2009, 10:46:27 PM »
The Symphonische Etuden, Op.13 with the posthumous etudes is an easy favorite for me, as is the Kreisleriana, Op.16.

I'd have to relisten to the Hyperion Schumann Edition to pick out a song cycle. I also remember being particularly impressed by his pieces for solo chorus. Almost everything among the lieder, to me, is sublime.

The Sonata for Violin and Piano, No.1, Op.105 is a wonderful piece, and really disproves the whole idea about Schumann getting on in years.

There's too many fantastic pieces to pick out a best.
We are very close in taste here I see. The op 13 and 16 are my favorites as well, besides the songs, particularly the major cycles. The violin sonata is one seriously unerrated sonata as well, with some beautiful, yearning melancholy.

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13657
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2009, 11:46:16 PM »
Schumann is one my favorite composers so it's very hard to pick only one work. All those previously mentioned are good candidates.

Three Romances for Oboe and Piano op. 94, anyone?
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur
Monotone.

Offline The new erato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14082
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2009, 11:53:15 PM »
Schumann is one my favorite composers so it's very hard to pick only one work. All those previously mentioned are good candidates.

Three Romances for Oboe and Piano op. 94, anyone?
I've just heard them at the Risør Chamber Music Festival played by Francois Leieux and Leiv Ove Andsnes.

I'm not really surprised that you like Schumann, Florestan. Is there an Eusebius somewhere?

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13657
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2009, 12:02:09 AM »
I've just heard them at the Risør Chamber Music Festival played by Francois Leieux and Leiv Ove Andsnes.

How did you like them? They never fail to impress me, especially the first one. I confess that for me it has strong extra-musical associations, but the pieces  themelves are very rewarding, I think.

I'm not really surprised that you like Schumann, Florestan. Is there an Eusebius somewhere?

Oh, yes, he's inside my brain watching as I type.  :)
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur
Monotone.

Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2009, 06:06:50 AM »
Schumann is one my favorite composers so it's very hard to pick only one work. All those previously mentioned are good candidates.

Three Romances for Oboe and Piano op. 94, anyone?

A preferred recording for these?  I notice they are frequently played with modified instrumentation (i.e., violin, viola or clarinet instead of oboe).

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 13657
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Schumann's greatest work?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2009, 06:21:56 AM »
A preferred recording for these?  I notice they are frequently played with modified instrumentation (i.e., violin, viola or clarinet instead of oboe).


I have two recording of them:

Heinz Holliger & Alfred Brendel:



Pierre Pierlot & Jean Hubeau, in a Erato set of Schumann's complete chamber music:



Both have their merits and I wouldn't pick one on the other.
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur
Monotone.

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK