Schumann Forum 2010
by Wolf-Dieter Seiffert
Dear Readers of the Schumann Forum 2010,
Spontaneously I can only think of three years in music history when two composers of outstanding genius were born within the same year: 1685 (Bach and Händel), 1813 (Wagner and Verdi), and, certainly: 1810. Of course, not only Robert Schumann was born 200 years ago, but also Frédéric Chopin. And, because Chopin claims his birthday is March 1, 1810 (his birth certificate, contrarily, states February 22) March in the Schumann Forum is majorly dedicated to one of the greatest composers ever: Chopin.
I asked some exceptional pianists of our time about their personal feelings towards Schumann and Chopin. The answers, dear readers, will be presented to you in the course of the months to come. Evgeny Kissin is the first I’d like to share with you.
Robert Schumann was significantly quick to realize the artistic standing of his peer, the aspiring composer recently relocated from Poland to Paris:
“Chapeau, Gentlemen, a genius!“
Whosoever is searching for more exact and detailed information on the mutual approach of these two geniuses, Schumann and Chopin, both born 1810, or even more precisely, whosoever is searching for sound and reliable information on Chopin’s life and works on the internet, I would like to refer to the excellent » homepage of the Warsaw „Fryderyk Chopin Institut“. The language options are Polish and English. (Regarding Schumann I can only point you to the wonderful “calendar” for exhilarating finds on 27. September 1835, 6. October 1835 and the days between 11. and 14. September 1836).
Ever since our company was founded Chopin has been one of the major composers in the G. Henle Verlag catalogue. As early as 1970, we had completed almost the full scope of his piano works in Urtext. Our editor at the time, Dr. Ewald Zimmermann, was awarded the Polish Badge of Culture, and others also, for his endeavours in uncovering the original and correct music by Chopin.
Meanwhile, of course, much has been researched about and around the existing Chopin autographs, the complex history of his music, and various aspects of philological detail. I hope to be able to offer highly interesting aspects on the topic in the March 15. edition of the Schumann Forum 2010. And I can also promise you, in two weeks, a very special new publication by G. Henle Verlag, in honour of Chopin’s 200th birthday anniversary.
Piano Sonata c minor, op. 4
Edited by Sarah Gerbracht and Norbert Müllemann
Fingerings by Andreas Groethuysen
HN 942 € 10,50
We at Henle are convinced that this early apprentice piece, written by the young Frédéric when he was probably 18, is a „sleeping beauty“ worthy of finally being awakened from its deep slumber. Perhaps it needed a good Urtext edition to find its way to the music academies and concert stages (beginners and unprofessional piano enthusiasts will despair; this piece is a surprising technical and musical challenge!)
My colleague, Dr. Norbert Müllemann, was, together with Sarah Gerbracht, the musicological editor of this edition. Last week he discussed the piece with pianist Andreas Groethuysen who provided the fingerings. Andreas Groethuysen was intensely involved in this piece, and felt compelled to state:
“Chopin was simply a genius, even at 18!“
And: “Any new edition published by Henle should be regarded as a signal to musicians.“
The entire, highly knowledgeable conversation (in German language) was recorded, and can be listened to here. It starts with a short part of the beginning of the sonata:
Continued on 15. March