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Karen Allendoerfer

Feierlich (with apologies to W.B. Yeats)

October 27, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Soundtrack:  Schumann's Symphony No. 3, 4th movement.

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;"

(Was he there at our last rehearsal, or did the conductor write this?)

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity"

(It's a bad idea, when your section is depleted and you still don't know your part very well, to try to cover it up by playing too loudly!)

"The darkness drops again"

(Boy, these days are getting short already)

Concert, November 8.  

Better keep practicing.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 28, 2009 at 5:03 PM

He's one of my favorites...

Have fun with Schumann 3!

From Terez Mertes
Posted on October 29, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Hey, Schumann! I just wrote about a Schumann symphony in my own blog. And I've been listening to Schumann no. 2 so much lately. And #3, that's the Rhenish, right? Ooh, love it, except that that fourth movement makes me so darned sad. That final drum roll - oh, I cry almost every time (and I don't think the listener is supposed to feel that way. It's about his visit to one of the huge, old cathedrals, isn't it?).

Seconding Anne - Schumann's so great.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 29, 2009 at 5:22 PM

 Yes, I find the 4th movement wonderful and terrible in what is hopefully a "darkest hour before dawn" kind of way.  When I listened to it the first time, it made me think of the part from the Yeats poem about the stone colossus awakening and slouching towards Bethlehem.  

And then, two weeks ago, we had a dreadful rehearsal on the piece, and I went back and looked up the poem and realized there was more to it that was even more apropos, in particular the "things fall apart; the center cannot hold" line.  

But last night's rehearsal was much better.  I think the darkest hour is behind us.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on October 29, 2009 at 5:36 PM

 >in particular the "things fall apart; the center cannot hold" line.  

Omigosh, YES. That's so profound and it perfectly matches the brooding thoughts the movement brings out in me. And this makes no sense whatsoever, and I've never seen a musicologist comment on this, but in my mind, those last sounds of the movement, those final beats, well, all I can hear in it is a premonition that he knows this will all end badly for him, that he will throw himself into the Rhine one day in an attempt to escape himself and his demons, and this is a sort of death knell.

Easy for me to think, since I know that years later, that's what he did, and it's doubtful he had any sort of premonition about it. And yet, I just can't listen to that ending now without thinking that somewhere inside him, he DID know. 

I dunno. I'm just so fascinated by Schumann, tho. I was actually going to write a whole blog about him and this subject at some point. In the meantime, thanks for your own blog here. And do share any other comments on this movement and/or the whole symphony that your conductor might have imparted, b/c maybe I'll understand my own thoughts better.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 29, 2009 at 6:28 PM

Yes, Schumann is one of my favorites.  The symphonies, the concertos, the chamber music, and all that wonderful piano music!

But when I said "he's", I was referring to Yeats.  His poems are amazing.  Sorry I wasn't more specific.

And, I hope your performance goes well!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 30, 2009 at 12:29 PM

 There's also an eerie misprint in my part.  Where the time signature changes to 4/2, there is a marking that says, in other people's music, "Die Halfte gleich die Viertel," meaning (in German) that the half note is the same beat as the quarter note was previously.  

However, in my music, most of the sentence is missing, and all it says there at the top of the page, is "Die."

From Terez Mertes
Posted on October 30, 2009 at 1:47 PM


Oh, Karen! OMG, I've got chills from that!

What a great, spooky thing to ponder on the day before Halloween! This symphony, I'm telling you. There's so much more there that meets the eye.

And yes, I agree with you (from conversation on my own blog) that Clara Schumann is enormously interesting. If I were to write a historical fiction novel on one character, it would be her. The little trio between her, Robert and Johannes Brahms. So very very interesting. And go Wiki Schumann and read about his throwing himself into the Rhine - it's pretty dramatic stuff. Spent the last few years of his life in an insane asylum (following the leap in the river) and for the last 2 (maybe) years, I think he refused visits by Clara. I might be off here - no time to check my facts, I just know that I am eternally fascinated by his life, his and Clara's story.

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