Thursday, January 17, 2008

Carnaval (Schumann)

I have never played Schumann's Carnaval Op.9, because I always thought it is a very long piece and there is nothing interesting to me. After learning this piece in piano lit class, I find some interesting things in the piece. Schumann created tonal unity in this twenty-two movement piano cycle. He liked using letters of name for composing the main motives. His "Abegg Variations" was used a lady's name. In the Carnaval, he used letters from his own name. In each section of Carnaval appears either or both of two series of musical notes: A, E-flat, C, B (signified in German as A-S-C-H); A-flat, C, B (signified in German As-C-H).
There are titles for each section and express different characteristic. "Pierrot" is a character of mime and from commedia of art. The ornamentation and the fast 16th notes runs present a crown's humor. Schumann's personal life was clearly reflected in the piece through the use of two alter-egos of his personality. "Eusebius" has lovely sound with 5 notes or 7 notes passages, it described passive and dreamy side of Schumann; and "Florestan" depicts composer's fiery impetuous side. The melody from "Papillons" shows out here. Schumann also used people's name as movement title for describing their characters, such as "Coquette", a flirtatious servant in Wieck's house; "Chiarina", Schumann used Russian name for depicting Clara Wieck; "Chopin", the Chopindish style writing really represent the lyrical style of Chopin. I remember one of my favourite movie "Pianist on the Ocean". The talent pianist never learned piano, but he can play very well and he can create different melodies for different characters of people. I really like that section of the movie. It is the same that Schumann described different mood for different people. This piece is one of the most representative and celebrated works. Now I think that Carnaval Op.9 is a pleasure to perform because I understood and found out the interesting of the piece.

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