Love, Loss, and Madness as Manifested in the Life
and Music of Robert Schumann
Workshop Leader: Dr. Larry Wetzler
When: May 23, 2010 (Sunday), 10am- 4pm
Where: 250 West 90th Street, 7A, NY, NY 10024
This workshop will appeal to the artist within every analyst and patient. We all search for something musical within
one another, a resonance which becomes a profound recognition and appreciation of the ways in which our emotional
life has become a problem to be lived with rather than solved or resolved. If the artist explores the lived ambiguities
of emotional life through a medium which is open to a hallucinatory dimension of being beyond words, the therapist
and analyst finds his or her instrument through words and their deep echoes in the caverns of one's psyche. As
Eigen has noted, "how we sound to each other is a gateway to how we taste emotionally". We will explore the life
and music of Robert Schumann (1810-1856) through the varied lenses offered us by Bion, Winnicott and Lacan insofar
as his musical journey opens us onto core aspects of our own humanity. Some of his greatest piano music will be
performed by Dr. Wetzler in dialogue with an examination of the emotional struggles being manifested in this music.
Bio: Dr. Wetzler is a clinical psychologist/psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan and Long Island. He is on
the faculty of the Object Relations Institute, the Postgraduate Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at
Adelphi University and the Institute for Expressive Analysis. He currently has two chapters which will be appearing
in the forthcoming book, Music and Psyche. Focusing on the interrelatedness of music and psychoanalysis, Dr. Wetzler
gives a series of piano recitals every spring in which he demonstrates the ways in which music provides an opening
into the unsayable of the psyche.
Program for Schumann Workshop
Mein schoner Stern (My lovely star) (opus 101, No.4) (Friederich Ruckert) Anne Sofie Von Otter
Traumerei (Reveries) from Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) (opus 15)
Stille Liebe (Silent love) (opus 35, No. 8) (Justinus Kerner) Anne Sofie Von Otter
Im wunderschonen Monat Mai (In the wondrous month of May) (from Dichterliebe,
Opus 48) (Heinrich Heine) Ian Bostridge
Ich hab in Traum geweinet (I wept in my dreams) (from Dichterliebe, opus 48) (Heinrich Heine) Ian Bostridge
Intermezzo from Faschingschwank aus Wien (Carnival Jest from Vienna, opus 26)
From Papillons (Butterflies) (opus 2) No. 7 and 8
Introduzione and Aria from Sonata in F sharp minor, opus 11
Andantino from Sonata in G minor (opus 22)
Phantasie in C major (opus 17)
Durchaus fantastiche und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen (Very passionate and fantastic
Massig. Durchaus energisch (Moderate. Energetic throughout)
Langsam getragen. Durchweg leise zu halten. (Slow and solemn. Delicately held
Dein Angesicht (Your face) (Opus 127, No.2) (Heinrich Heine) Anne Sofie Von Otter
Hor’ ich das Liedschen klingen (When I hear the sound of the song) (from Dichterliebe, opus 48) Ian Bostridge
Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen (On a gleaming morning in summer) (from Dichterliebe, opus, 48) Ian Bostridge
From Davidsbundlertanze (Davidsbundler Dances) (opus 8)
Zart und singend (Tender and singing)
Wie aus der Ferne (As if from out of the distance)
Nicht schnell (Not fast)
From Phantasiestucke (Fantasy Pieces) (opus 12)
Des Abends (Evening)
Arabesque (opus 18)
Humoresque (opus 20)
Einfach (Simple); Sehr rasch und leicht (Very fast and lightly); Noch rascher (Still faster)
Hastig (Hasty); Nach und nach immer lebhafter und starker (gradually more and more lively and stronger)
Einfach und zart (Simple and tender); Intermezzo
Innig (inward); Sehr lebhaft (Very lively); Mit einigem Pomp (With some pomp)
Zum Beschluss (In Conclusion)
Rose, Meer und Sonne (Rose, sea and sun) (opus 37, No. 9) (Friederich Ruckert) Anne Sofie Von Otter
With respect to his Humoreske (0pus 20), Schumann wrote to Clara in March, 1839,
“I have reveled in the thought of you, and have loved you as I never did before. I sat at the piano all week and composed
and wrote, and laughed and cried all at the same time; you will now find all this beautifully depicted in my Opus 20, the
great Humoreske which is already being engraved. Look how quickly things are going for me at the moment.
Conceived, written down and printed.”
Schumann once referred to the Humoresque as perhaps “his most melancholy composition”.
There are five distinct movements. The first movement begins with a section marked “Einfach” (Simple)…sad, longing,
a turning inward, followed by a section marked “Sehr rasch und leicht” (Very quick and light), followed by other sections
marked “Noch rascher” (Even quicker), each section seeming to interrupt the previous one, coming onstage and the
exiting just as abruptly. Eventually, the music returns to the sad longing of the first section.
In the second Movement: marked “Hastig” (Hasty) Schumann wrote an “inner voice” (Innere Stimme) on the third line.
But this voice is only to be imagined, like a hallucination; (Schumann hallucinating Clara) it is not to be played. Given
its silent presence, this “inner voice” seems to be a “secret” between the composer and the person reading or playing
his music. It is the voice of Clara echoing her Romance in G minor. This opening section is followed by a series of
energetic and at times almost frantic ideas in which you may get a taste of Schumann’s madness in the driven quality
of his syncopated rhythms, his insistent repeated notes and chords and his accelerated tempo marked “Nach und nach
schneller” (little by little faster). Following a marchlike section marked Nach und nach immer lebhafter und starker
(little by little more lively and stronger), the music gradually returns to the quiet piano part which surrounded the Clara
theme. However, the “inner voice” is now absent from the music and the composer left alone with his outer
accompaniment but with no inner voice. After the music seems to reminisce on this absence, it ultimately comes
to an end with a brief, but sad Adagio.
The third and middle movement, marked “Einfach und zart” (Simple and tender), is a lonely, bittersweet wistful meditation,
punctuated by a middle section (Intermezzo) which consists of a series of technically challenging rapid downward facing
passages which ultimately return to the earlier meditation with its sense of resignation.
The fourth movement, marked, “Innig” (Warm, ardent, heartfelt), begins with a love song, which is briefly punctuated
by a variety of thoughts ranging from agitated to mystical. This deeply soothing beginning is followed by a section
marked “Sehr lebhaft” (Very lively). “Sehr lebhaft” ultimately becomes “Immer lebhafter” (always livelier) and leads
into a Stretta (faster) and coming to a halt with a final section marked “Mit eingem Pomp” (With united pomp)
possibly poking fun at the pretentiousness he had encountered in Viennese society.
Schumann entitles the fifth and final movement “Zum Beschluss” (In Conclusion). The music is tragic with hopeful
overtones interweaving with darker passages which open onto a lone voice questioning its fate. The music ends
with a downward cascade of humor reminiscent of the epitaph John Gay had written on his tombstone:
Life is a joke and all things show it.
I thought so once, but now I know it.
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