What about this of Robert Schumann?

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Lance
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What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Lance » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:23 pm

This being the year of Schumann 200 ... many of us are delving into the considerable number of works by the composer that are not as well known. I've been more heavily involved in his choral pieces which never seem to have been among his most popular works. When I saw the 1947 MGM film, Song of Love, with Katharine Hepburn (as Clara), Paul Henreid (as Schmann), and Robert Walker (as Brahms), there was a sequence of Schumann conducting one of his choral works where he begins to hear the "A" and he can't continue conducting the work. Clara gets up and walks him off the stage and Schumann eventually ends up in the mental institution. I am hopeful this B&W film will be made on DVD one of these days. (I treasure my VHS of it.)

In the meantime, does any know what work it was that Schumann was conducting when he started to fall apart in the film?

On another another Schumann note, given what we know about Schumann's mental condition in the 21st century, does anyone know now exactly what kind of mental condition Schumann was plagued with AND, in our own age, could his condition be cured or controled given the many drugs we have for such purposes today? Thoughts?

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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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stenka razin
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:45 pm

Lance, many people have speculated about the cause of Robert Schumann's maladies. Some have attributed it to syphilis. Others have said that it is very likely that mental illness simply ran in Robert's family. He displayed signs of several mental disorders, the most likely of which being schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. One thing is certain. Despite his obvious handicaps, Robert Schumann was a genius and the new DG 35 CD super sized box set proves this conclusively. 8)
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by John F » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:46 pm

The scene is in this clip:



The whole movie is on YouTube, divided into 10-minute segments. I don't recognize the music, though it does sound like Schumann. :)
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Ken » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:24 am

Schumann was, without much doubt, manic-depressive and hypochondriac. He was (thankfully for music historians) obsessive about documenting his life and his many diaries and letters attest to his changing mental state throughout his life.

Today almost conclusively assumed is that from about 1850 he entered the tertiary (final) phase of syphillis, which led to hallucinations and tinnitus as well as strong depression. The autopsy conducted by Dr. Richarz at Endenich after his death in July 1856 proved that his brain mass had shrunk considerably as a result of the illness---this however likely only during the last few months of life.
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:43 am

Lance wrote:This being the year of Schumann 200 ... many of us are delving into the considerable number of works by the composer that are not as well known. I've been more heavily involved in his choral pieces which never seem to have been among his most popular works. When I saw the 1947 MGM film, Song of Love, with Katharine Hepburn (as Clara), Paul Henreid (as Schmann), and Robert Walker (as Brahms), there was a sequence of Schumann conducting one of his choral works where he begins to hear the "A" and he can't continue conducting the work. Clara gets up and walks him off the stage and Schumann eventually ends up in the mental institution. I am hopeful this B&W film will be made on DVD one of these days. (I treasure my VHS of it.)

In the meantime, does any know what work it was that Schumann was conducting when he started to fall apart in the film?

On another another Schumann note, given what we know about Schumann's mental condition in the 21st century, does anyone know now exactly what kind of mental condition Schumann was plagued with AND, in our own age, could his condition be cured or controled given the many drugs we have for such purposes today? Thoughts?

I know the movie well, Lance. The work in question was from his "Szenen aus Goethes 'Faust'". Henreid did a wonderful job in his portrayal of Schumann.

I also enjoyed Henry Daniell (as Liszt). Curiously, Carl Reinecke was portrayed by an old man. Actually, he was about ten years younger than Schumann! I also got a kick out of Clara's (Hepburn) playing of Liszt's 1st Piano Concerto at the film's opening scene---a work she DETESTED!

Excellent film!

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by karlhenning » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:17 am

Jack Kelso wrote:. . . I also got a kick out of Clara's (Hepburn) playing of Liszt's 1st Piano Concerto at the film's opening scene---a work she DETESTED!
Ah, well; being Clara Schumann doesn't mean she didn't have her blind spots : )

Cheers,
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Lance » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:31 pm

I've studied/viewed the sequence of Hepburn playing the Schumann piano concerto in the film. She does everything right! She's in the correct part of the keyboard and actually looks like she is playing the work. Even the pianoforte looks "period." I am curious, however, from whence you learned Kate detested the Schumann piano concerto.
karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:. . . I also got a kick out of Clara's (Hepburn) playing of Liszt's 1st Piano Concerto at the film's opening scene---a work she DETESTED!
Ah, well; being Clara Schumann doesn't mean she didn't have her blind spots : )

Cheers,
~Karl
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:02 pm

Lance wrote:I am curious, however, from whence you learned Kate detested the Schumann piano concerto.
It's Jack, so the source would either be a Musicologist or Scholar... :lol:
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:58 am

It was Clara who hated the Liszt concerto, Lance. She was correct in her estimate of the E-Flat Concerto (that it is more virtuoso show than deep expression)...but Liszt hadn't wished to convey more than that. He wanted a showpiece for himself. In it, however, he created a kind of symphonic poem in 4 movements for piano and orchestra----another fine invention from his pen.

And you're right---Katherine Hepburn was a perfectionist in her approach to acting, as she really DOES appear to be playing the piano!

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:21 am

Jack Kelso wrote:It was Clara who hated the Liszt concerto, Lance. She was correct in her estimate of the E-Flat Concerto (that it is more virtuoso show than deep expression)...but Liszt hadn't wished to convey more than that. He wanted a showpiece for himself. In it, however, he created a kind of symphonic poem in 4 movements for piano and orchestra----another fine invention from his pen.
Well, which is it, Jack: "virtuoso show" or "a kind of symphonic poem"?

Even though her name is Schumann, you don't need to ape her scorn ; )

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:39 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
And you're right---Katherine Hepburn was a perfectionist in her approach to acting, as she really DOES appear to be playing the piano!
Unfortunately, it cannot be said the Paul Henreid really appears to be conducting.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:41 am

jbuck919 wrote:Unfortunately, it cannot be said the Paul Henreid really appears to be conducting.
They should have got Danny Kaye!

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
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Re: What about this of Robert Schumann?

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:40 am

karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:It was Clara who hated the Liszt concerto, Lance. She was correct in her estimate of the E-Flat Concerto (that it is more virtuoso show than deep expression)...but Liszt hadn't wished to convey more than that. He wanted a showpiece for himself. In it, however, he created a kind of symphonic poem in 4 movements for piano and orchestra----another fine invention from his pen.
Well, which is it, Jack: "virtuoso show" or "a kind of symphonic poem"?

Even though her name is Schumann, you don't need to ape her scorn ; )

Cheers,
~Karl
Take it easy, Karl. I like the work. It's fun! Don't be so four-square about it. Why can it not be both...?! 8)

And please stop interpreting me---I'm not scorning the work; I'm describing it.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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