Robert Schumann: Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (Live from Vilnius)



I am very happy that Mussorgsky has rightfully become the darling of our community. For 140 years (in the “hypostasis” of Pictures), he “was known as the“ grave Russian ”populist” with the avian imagination of a junior schoolchild of an elementary Soviet school. But he turned out to be a “rocker”, a psychedelic musical dreamer, a forerunner of swing in music, a “champion” of amazing musical states and an all-encompassing cosmic genius, a man of the future. I hope the whole world will reconsider its attitude towards it in the context of phenomenal pictures.

The same with Schumann. Chopin once tagged him with unfortunate moniker of “boring” – he misunderstood Schumann, and viewed him only as a “pedagogical composer”. But Chopin was the apple to Schumann’s orange. Schumann’s music captivates with the wonders of his musical innovations. “Flights with Robert”, is perhaps the most exciting because unlike most “earth-bound” composers, whose music “flies” only in their dreams, Schumann was on this flight from birth – he lived his music, and his music was his life – not mere metaphor. So in this recording I invite listeners to fly with him in his music, to go beyond the sharing of “art,” and share, with me, his profoundly intimate journey. Also come experience with me the prophetic Schumann, 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.

This “inner life” not been perfectly addressed or completely understood within these wonderful Symphonic Etudes for almost 200 years! And now I am so pleased to be publishing them, bringing them back to life for you. We will soon be completing the studio version, with its transcriptions of soulful and inner meanings, just as we did for the “Pictures”, and in 5 languages. This will be another definitive contribution of our community to the world culture and philosophy of music. I hope you all understand the importance of our work together and the great danger faced by the many great writings that misinterpretation or lack of commitment to proper conscious performance has fostered their further obscurity and obliteration from the minds of popular serious musical libraries. We must together work to convey to people the physiognomy, the spirit and the innate beauty of this masterwork in the same way we did with the “Pictures”, “Butterflies” and, I hope, with great Essays on the UCM website to further illuminate and elucidate the inner spiritual flights within each Etude.

Translated by Svetlana Harris and Todd A Harris

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