Donald Macleod looks at the impact on Schumann of becoming Dusseldorf's director of music.
It was an offer Robert Schumann only wished he could have refused. But lacking other job opportunities, the composer reluctantly accepted Dusseldorf's offer of the post of Director of Music, with responsibility not only for a semi-professional orchestra, but also for a choir. All this week Donald Macleod looks at Schumann's Dusseldorf years and the creative stimulus this move provided for Schumann, his triumphs as well as his many failures. In less than five years, Robert would write some third of his entire output, composing concertos, choral works and symphonies. Despite the composer's tragic illness, he lost none of his powers of invention, and was indeed on the brink of enjoying both popular as well as critical success.
In today's episode, Robert and Clara are feted with a grand reception and a concert of Robert's own music. Despite this promising beginning, there are already domestic problems: the familiar struggle to find suitable accommodation, away from barrel organs and other street noises. And already there are mutterings among the choir and some of the orchestra about Robert's abilities as a conductor and manager of people.
Genoveva Overture, Op.81
New York Philharmonic
Sechs Gedichte von Nikolaus Lenau, Op. 90 (Meine Rose; Requiem)
Peter Schreier, tenor
Normal Shetler, piano
Myrthen, Op.25 (Widmung; Die Lotosblume)
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
Das Paradies und die Peri, Op.50 (Part 2)
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.
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