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#1469645 - 07/07/10 02:13 AM Schumann's Humoreske, Op. 20
jeffreyjones Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2555
Loc: San Jose, CA
What do people make of this piece? I've listened to it many times, and read through it twice tonight. The writing is typically Schumannian richness, with lots of hazardous counterpoint and huge chords. There are many, many themes of absolutely first-rate quality, some of the best that Schumann ever wrote. But the overall effect is bizarre. You don't feel the same after listening to this work as you do after any of his other works. It's like the first time in a museum as a kid, where everything is so new and fantastic that you don't even know where to start, and can feel a little overwhelmed at times as you get led along taking in all the sights. Nothing is ever simply pretty or peaceful.. there's a powerful undercurrent that carries you along, whether you want to or not.

And as long as we're on the subject.. are you supposed to play the "Inner Voice" that he indicates in the "Einfach und leicht" section written on three staves? It's damn near impossible to even play it, let alone preserve the lightness he calls for, and no one seems to observe it in recordings.. but he doesn't say NOT to play it - is it like the Sphinxes in Carnaval, which nobody is really sure about? (Yes, I know Clara said not to play Sphinxes..)

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#1469663 - 07/07/10 03:20 AM Re: Schumann's Humoreske, Op. 20 [Re: jeffreyjones]
JBB_Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 54
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Check out Richter's recording (on YouTube) for an example of the inner voice being brought out as the primary melody. It doesn't have to be this way (though it is a stunning recording) . There are many fine performances (notably Larrocha) that weave it in with the other two lines.

This is a great piece, wonderful to play and listen to, and it might be the most technically difficult piano work by Schumann.

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#1469748 - 07/07/10 08:47 AM Re: Schumann's Humoreske, Op. 20 [Re: JBB_Piano]
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1733
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Here is a link to download an mp3 file of a 1955 performance by Richter.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#1472104 - 07/11/10 01:55 AM Re: Schumann's Humoreske, Op. 20 [Re: JBB_Piano]
jeffreyjones Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2555
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: JBB_Piano
Check out Richter's recording (on YouTube) for an example of the inner voice being brought out as the primary melody. It doesn't have to be this way (though it is a stunning recording) . There are many fine performances (notably Larrocha) that weave it in with the other two lines.


I picked up Larrocha's recording.. she accents it where it appears in the right hand, but the middle staff is silent. I take it that's how it should be played.

I was actually meaning to refer to the G minor "Lebhaft" section, by the way. Whoopsie!

Quote:
This is a great piece, wonderful to play and listen to, and it might be the most technically difficult piano work by Schumann.


It's interesting you should say that, because I'm not having much trouble with it. There are some thorny passages, but it's easier for sure than the Symphonic Variations or the Fantaisie. It's fairly comfortable, and a lot of the writing could have been pulled right out of the Kreisleriana's slow episodes. I love the enigmatic quality. It's the one piece of Schumann's that actually reminds me of Chopin - there's a puzzle in it that both the listener and performer have to ponder.

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