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Schumann Forum 2010

"An open birthday letter to Robert Schumann"

The Thematic Catalogue of Robert Schumann’s Works
1. June


Dear Mr Schumann,

In only a few short days the entire musical world will celebrate your 200th birthday. In your honour, festivals will be staged everywhere, from Düsseldorf, Germany to Mumbai, India, to Luzern, Switzerland. For a good overview of the events (especially in Germany) I suggest a visit to: Newspapers and journals (e.g. the June issue of the German music magazine FonoForum) will report on your immortal music and your eventful life. All over the world the air will be filled with the sound of your music.

From the bottom of my heart I would today like to thank you for the rich and more than generous musical gift you bestowed on us, and I would like to congratulate you on your 200th birthday. Of course I am not empty-handed, I have a gift in return. Please read on.

Since its foundation G. Henle Verlag has benefited from your oeuvre. Over the years, however, we have also invested much effort and money in publishing your complete piano works from Opus 1 to the posthumous Variations in E flat major in newly revised, philologically and aesthetically highly satisfying editions.

Today, however, I wish to recommend a very special book of ours. I am confident that it will excite you to the same extent it has many of our customers who purchased it: the Thematic Catalogue of Robert Schumann’s Works. It was published seven years ago and is since regarded to be THE reference work for your musical oeuvre. Just as you had always wished it contains an exact list of all of your compositions, those with and without an opus number, those that you completed and those that were left us only in fragments; commented in detail, explained and made accessible through numerous cross-references and indices. Our author, Margit McCorkle, invested ten years of her life into this book. The Peter Klöckner Foundation provided a stately amount to support the funding.


Dear Mr Schumann, please have a look at our truly substantial collection of information on the Catalogue of Robert Schumann’s Works. Simply click on a link in the left hand margin or on the image of the book cover.

Of course the book is not my gift to you. Rather, the gift is a novelty. Please “unpack” it and study it. I do hope very much that you will enjoy it, as do especially the author of the Thematic Catalogue of Robert Schumann’s Works, and the entire staff of various Schumann Research Institutes. They joined in work for this special gift.





For, from today on, all the new information collected since the first publication of the Thematic Catalogue of Robert Schumann’s Works will be posted on the website of G. Henle Verlag. These “addenda” and “corrigenda” are immediately freely accessible for all online-visitors and will supply a current record of new findings for the catalogue of works, all in regards to your compositions. I know of no other composer’s catalogue of works that makes use of this innovative method to consistently remain “up-to-date”.

Here you have the opportunity to listen to the (English language) phone interview I led with Mrs McCorkle last week. I had the opportunity to talk with her about the spirit and purpose of this gift on the occasion of your 200th birthday:


And, as something special on top, I would like to invite you to read the comments of the concert pianist Paul Badura-Skoda on your work in comparison to that of Frédéric Chopin’s: 9 Questions

Now I must close this birthday letter. But you may be assured that, especially in June 2010, millions of people will enjoy your music and feel refreshed by it, and that this happiness will not cease.

With utmost gratitude
I remain

Wolf-Dieter Seiffert

PS: Of course I would be delighted if you would chance to revisit the Schumann Forum 2010 from time to time. Every two weeks I issue new information on topics relating to your oeuvre.


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