Schumann “Symphonic Etudes”. Etude 8. Part 11.

(0-.25) So, the next variation is again a prophecy. It is a prophecy in the form of a Passacaglia. Here Schumann gives a nod to his colleagues from the past, hardening back to the Baroque era.

But this Passacaglia form is enigmatic – its ancient form contains a reference to the future – to breakthroughs that only came from our recent times, and I want to focus your attention onto what we have here.

The form – there’s a lot of notes – characteristic of the form of a passacaglia. But what of the underlying message ? Let’s put aside for a moment what this looks like on the surface, the essence conveyed by this passacala format. And focus on Melody. And what we will have is this: (1.19 – 2.15).

That is, we encounter a completely modern ballad of the late 20th – 21st century. (2.20 – 2.26) – there is a bell, which we have been silent about for three variations. The bell of death, if you remember, appears in the Beethoven variation, and from the first theme, it goes from dropping the coffin to the grave. (2.39 – 3.19). Well, well, this is our modern pop – rock ballad from today. This is from our film music. In general, this derives from the extant of the whole Romantic foundation on which we live. Well, as for the baroque ornamentations with which he framed all this, those are just a tribute to form. And the musicians who play it should play it like a rock ballad, which as we see was defined by the great romanticist Robert Schumann.

(3.51 – 4.07) Hearing this, I can’t help but remember Freddie Mercury. Only he screamed in such a way, his mouth seemingly merging with the microphone on the stage. So none of the rock-modern variety were romantics – their drama was consumed with crying out for freedom. Only Mercury’s sound, who is beloved and appreciated very much on a worldwide stage could be likened to that of Schumann, who in this work is uttering the same scream. Only its 130 years earlier, no, 140 years (4.43 – 5.01). We are completely immersed here in the electronic ageaesthetic of a rock stadium. (5.05 – 5.45).

Here’s a Prophet! A prophet who saw into in our own time, predicted our aesthetics, our loudness, our sonorities, our electronics, even the vast and echoic aesthetics of our giant stadiums. (6.01 until the end of the recording).

Translated by Svetlana Harris and Todd A Harris

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