The Laughing Princess

JAMES GLANZ Of Physics, Friendship and Nazi Germany's Atomic Bomb and the Nazi Atomic Bomb Project, A Study in German Culture Werner Heisenberg, a German theoretical physicist, proposed in

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Sounds words images. Music I to the late s. Words and writings. Towards infinity Cage in the s and s. Cages collaborations. Cage and high modernism. Music and society. Cage and postmodernism. No escape from heaven John Cage as father figure. Music II from the late s. Interaction and influence. Billy J.

Harbin , Kim Marra , Robert A. Unsettling errors appear in this account of the main events of Schumann's oft-chronicled life. During the period Schumann trained to become a piano virtuoso; a hand injury ended these aspirations. This period, Perrey says, "coincides with two increasingly urgent concerns: to establish a public life and to create a private one with Clara" p. But these could hardly have been Schumann's concerns at this time, when he was a twenty-year-old piano student and his future wife Clara only nine. In her description of Clara and Robert's courtship, Perrey says that during their eighteen months of separation they "write to each other daily, sometimes two or three times" p.

But one of the extraordinary aspects of this eighteen-month separation is that there were no letters or other communications. Perrey describes Schumann's output in the s: "throughout the decade however, he composes, although comparatively little is published, let alone widely performed" p. A quick consultation of the useful chart on pp. Finally, those who are familiar with the story of how the young Johannes Brahms became part of the Schumann circle months before Schumann's commitment to the asylum at Endenich, will be astonished to learn that "Brahms will remain faithful to Clara and Robert Schumann all his life, attempting at once to reconcile and consume his love for both by proposing marriage to their first child Marie--an attempt that fails" p.

It is true that Brahms is known to have cherished a secret love for a Schumann daughter, not Marie but Julie. Far from proposing to her, however, he only revealed his attachment when she married someone else. The famous result of this episode in Brahms's life was the dark and anguished Alto Rhapsody , which he dedicated to her.

After this disconcerting beginning, the book does include excellent chapters on the chamber music and the dramatic works. Linda Correll Roesner uses a career's worth of insight to examine the three String Quartets from Schumann's "chamber music year" of She argues for understanding the three quartets as a unified cycle on the basis of their tonal plan.

She then compares them to two violin sonatas from , showing that in both cases Schumann undermines sonata form in favor of thematic and tonal means of unification. In her essay, Elizabeth Paley examines a variety of types of works for voices and orchestra, describing in detail the oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri and the opera Genoveva She shows how Schumann experimented in his later works with new ways of text setting, using a more declamatory singing style in his opera, and making extensive use of melodrama spoken declamation to musical accompaniment in his setting of Byron's Manfred Paley argues a strong case for a major re-evaluation of these work's significance.

The distinguished musicologists Joseph Kerman and Scott Burnham give overviews of the concertos and symphonies, respectively.

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Burnham takes on the longstanding criticism of the symphonies as formally weak and poorly orchestrated. His openly affectionate descriptions focus on the local level of a sequence of contrasting episodes rather than on large-scale drama. Kerman analyzes the famous Piano Concerto in a minor and a variety of other more unusual pieces for solo instruments and orchestra.

Reinhard Kapp's essay on the reception of Schumann's life and work consists of a long list of assertions and a short amount of evidence and argumentation. He states at the beginning of his endnotes that "this essay is indebted to numerous earlier studies; here I will mention only the chapter on reception in Arnfried Edler's book on Schumann and the reports from the Artbeitstagungen in Zwickau" p.

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Neither of these studies are cited fully in the article, nor are they listed in the "select biography" at the end of the volume. This frustrating lack of documentation prevents the reader from making sense of many provocative claims. Why, for instance, does Kapp state: "The chapter on Schumann in the history of criticism is a sorry tale: composers acquit themselves scarcely any better than journalists save for usually having something they want to say " p. Schumann's writing is usually seen as one of the more brilliant moments in the history of criticism!

Why does Kapp claim: "A major biography has yet to be published, the new image of Schumann has yet to be consolidated" p. John Daverio's book on the composer is certainly a major biography.

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One issue that appears in several of the essays is Schumann's use of intertexuality--referred to variously as quotation, citation, allusion, or referencing. In his piano works, for instance, Schumann incorporated music by Clara and quoted himself. The symphonies allude to Classical-style symphonies both in general and in particular.

Perrey notes that this practice is not restricted to music: "Schumann's compositions make rather generous use of, or allusions to, literature and poetry through direct quotation, mottos, titles and various narrative techniques " p.

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Examples include a quotation from a poem by Friedrich Schlegel at the beginning of the Fantasie , Op. Hoffmann's mad musician Johannes Kreisler. Reversing the negative evaluation of the late works, once dismissed as the product of a sick mind, is the other theme the essays have in common. Roesner, for example, sees the Piano Trio in g minor as one of the works that "embody the culmination of the composer's ever innovative approach to large-scale musical form" p. Compare that to an assessment in a collection of essays on Schumann published in , in which the Piano Trio in g minor "belongs to the period of Schumann's increasing mental instability and shows a sad decline from the standard of the D minor Trio.

Both Kerman and John Daverio in one of his two essays devote significant space to the Violin Concerto , a work from that was suppressed by Clara Schumann as a weak effort, performed and published for the first time only in John Daverio devotes an entire chapter to Schumann's late style. In doing so, he brings up some points that certainly complicate matters. For instance, he notes that Schumann's work was criticized as dark, exhausted, and morbid earlier than one would think: "Even before Schumann's commitment, some of his later works were criticized for Furthermore, while the late music was frequently described as exhausted, it was not called "mad.

And then there is the bottom line: "Needless to say, it is impossible to prove the aesthetic worth of Schumann's late music. Even the most painstaking motivic analysis will not convince the skeptical listener In other words, evaluations of Schumann's late works are very much dependent on the personal taste of the beholder" p. Schumann composed a total of Lieder , mostly during two periods of his life: in , his so-called "Lieder-Jahr," and in the period between and his incarceration.

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Because the first period produced his most well-known song cycles-- Dichterliebe , Frauenliebe und Leben , and the Eichendorff Liederkreis --the second period tends to be overlooked. Indeed, it is not mentioned at all in Jonathan Dunsby's chapter on the songs in the Schumann Companion.