Tuesday, December 22, 2009

more on Schumann and the F-major experiments

I originally ended yesterday's post with the following:
One has to wonder if Schumann ever played for dancing, because, despite the party-game context of his review, he had a skewed notion of what Schubert's dances, even in their published forms, represented. It was a small step from mistaking these F-major deutscher for a closed text to the monumentalizing priorities of the Bach Gesamtausgabe. And it really seems unnecessary because the record of Schumann's early music, finished and unfinished, certainly confirms that he had improvisational skills.
In the meantime, I found this in Andreas Boyde's reconstruction of the unfinished set of variations on D365n2:
In 1827 Schumann began "revelling" in the music of Franz Schubert. He heard his songs for the first time, was introduced by Agnes Carus to the four-hand works for piano and fell in love both with "Schubert's Waltzes and her". His diary on 2nd March 1829 mentions a "fruitful improvisation on the Waltz of Longing"; eight months later he requested the music for the complete Schubert Waltzes from Friedrich Wieck and according to Friedrich Täglichsbeck played them "beautifully and whenever he had the chance".
The question of playing for dancing, however, remains open.

Robert Schumann. Variations on a Theme by Schubert - Sehnsuchtswalzervariationen,
reconstructed from the manuscripts by Andreas Boyde. Hofheim: F. Hofmeister, c2000.