The “Davidsbund” – a group of artists who had joined forces in a revolutionary struggle against the backward structures in the artistic world, amongst whose members he counted both real and imaginary people – only existed in Schumann’s imagination. He published the first edition of his “Davidstänze” under the pseudonym “Florestan and Eusebius” – the two characters that represented contrasting (impetuous and gentle) aspects of his own self. Clara Wieck, to whom he unsuccessfully proposed several times whilst writing it, is also represented; “more than anything” he dedicated these dances to her. These short, extremely diverse tone pictures afford us an intimate insight into Schumann’s emotional state at the time.
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In 1854 Robert Schumann prepared a complete edition of his writings. He explained the historical background in his introduction: “At the end of 1833 a large number of musicians, most of them young, convened in Leipzig […] to exchange ideas on the art which constituted the food and drink of their lives: music. One cannot say that musical conditions in Germany at that time … more
About the composer
Connected with his oeuvre is the term he coined, Poetic Music, with which he strove for a fusion of literature and music, a paradigm particularly seen in his lyric piano pieces prior to 1839. Thereafter he devoted himself to other genres (song, symphony, chamber music, among others).
|1810||Born in Zwickau on June 8, the son of a bookdealer.|
|from 1828||Studies law in Leipzig, piano with Friedrich Wieck. Decision to pursue a career in music.|
|1830–39||He exclusively composes piano works, mostly cycles, including “Papillons,” Op. 2 (1829–32); “Carnaval,” Op 9 (1834/35); “Davidsbündlertänze,” Op. 6 (1837); “Kinderszenen” (“Scenes from Childhood”), Op. 15 (1837/38); “Kreisleriana,” Op. 16 (1838); “Noveletten,” Op. 21 (1838).|
|1832||A paralysis of a finger in his right hand makes a career as a pianist impossible. Founding in 1833 of the fantasy brotherhood the “Davidsbund” (“League of David”).|
|1835–44||Editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal of Music).|
|1840||Marriage to Clara Wieck; 138 songs, including the Eichendorff Liederkreis, Op. 39; the song cycle “Dichterliebe,” Op. 48|
|1841||Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major (“Spring” Symphony), Op. 38, and Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120.|
|1842||Three string quartets, Op. 41; further chamber music.|
|1843||Teacher of composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Oratorio “Paradise and the Peri,” Op. 50.|
|1845||He settles in Dresden. Journey to Russia.|
|1845||Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61.|
|1850||City music director in Düsseldorf. Premiere in Leipzig of his opera “Genoveva,” Op. 81. Symphony in E-flat major (“Rhenish”), Op. 97; Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.|
|1853||Beginning of his friendship with Brahms. Completion of the Scenes from Faust. Violin Concerto in D minor for Joseph Joachim.|
|1854||Suicide attempt and admission to the psychiatric institution in Endenich, near Bonn.|
|1856||Death in Endenich on July 29.|
About the authors
Both of these are a pleasure to play from, with discreet fingering from Theopold.
Henle continue their superlative reappraisal of Schumann’s piano œuvre with that evergreen prenuptial sparkler, Davidsbündlertänze. … the authority and explanatory notes for editorial decisions remain as one would expect from a publishing house that currently leads the field in editions of this repertoire.
Les Davidsbündlertänze op. 6 datent de la fin de l’été 1837. … Ernst Herttrich a choisi de reprendre la version de 1850 et de noter dans les commentaires (allemand-français) ce qui la distingue de la première version de 1837.