Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Brown, Thomas Alan. The Aesthetics of Robert Schumann. New York: Philosophical Library, 1968.

A number of major Romantic authors, including Jean Paul, Wilhelm Wackenroder, Ludwig Tieck, and E. T. A. Hoffmann, had a profound influence on Robert Schumann’s aesthetics. Schumann embraced numerous Romantic concepts as articulated by these authors, including the Romantic genius, the transcendent power of music, and fascination with the historic past. In some form or another, Schumann’s music, writings, and overall philosophy from the early to the mid-1830s reflect these concepts.

As a writer, Schumann echoed Herder and Schiller in his beliefs that the musical genius acts as a cultural critic who improves art and society by exalting other geniuses, while also attacking “musical Philistinism.” Additionally, he draws upon the Romantic writers in his emphasis on musical feeling and sentiment, as well as inspiration over planning when composing. Schumann actively promoted these Romantic-inspired musical aesthetics, especially through his Davidsbund and the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, which greatly impacted the German-speaking music world.

Schumann’s piano music serves as a useful case study for his Romantic aesthetic stance. He actively absorbed and emulated styles of past masters, as seen in the Bachian counterpoint of Novelletten, Op. 21, No. 1. Furthermore, he promoted both past and contemporary geniuses by transcribing or arranging their works, or by borrowing and reworking their melodies. Jean Paul also greatly informed Schumann’s stance on program music and the interaction of music and text, as reflected in works such as Papillons and Carnaval. However, Schumann’s music after 1840 demonstrates a reaction against these Romantic influences, as he begins to favor Classical forms and genres to a much greater degree.

Works: Robert Schumann: Allegro, Op. 8 (34-37), Kinderszenen, Op. 15 (36, 177-79), Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 (36, 54-55), Intermezzos, Op. 4 (36-41, 142, 149), Papillons, Op. 2 (36-38, 70-73, 142, 146, 154-55, 166, 168-74), Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6 (38-40, 54-56, 91-93), Fantasie in C, Op. 17 (38-42, 67-68), Carnaval: Scènes Mignonnes sur Quatre Notes, Op. 9 (42-43, 70-73, 77-78, 91-94, 142, 148, 164-67, 174-77), Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 (73-74), Impromptus, Op. 5 (77, 81-82, 142-43), Album für die Jugend, Op. 68 (77, 84), Studien für das Pianoforte nach Capricen von Paganini, Op. 3 (86-90), Variationen über den Namen Abegg, Op. 1 (91-92), Novelletten, Op. 21 (142, 144-45), Symphonische Etüden, Op. 13 (142, 147), Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (142, 150-51, 178-79), Klavierstücke, Op. 32 (142, 152), Sonata in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11 (157-59), Sonata in F Minor, Op. 14 (157-59), Sonata in G Minor, Op. 22 (159-60).

Sources: Robert Schumann: An Anna II (36), Im Herbste (36), Der Hirtenknabe; Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle: La Marseillaise (73); Anonymous: Groβvater-Tanz (77); Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 (77), Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (77), Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 (77), Violin Sonata in F Major, Op. 24 (77, 85); Paganini: Caprices, Op. 1 (86-89); Robert Schumann: Intermezzos, Op. 4 (91), Carnaval: Scènes Mignonnes sur Quatre Notes, Op. 9 (91-93), Papillons, Op. 2 (91, 94).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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