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  • Writer's pictureAyanthi Anandagoda

Träumerei (dreaming), Robert Schumann:

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Let us immerse ourselves in the words of Rob Kapilow who performed Traumerei celebrating Schumann Bicentennial:

"The opening musical idea of the piece four-notes-and-then-something. The first time the pattern is heard, the notes gracefully ascend. The next time, that fourth note is even higher. Then Schumann repeats, to make sure we get it in our heads, yet a third version shows up and that is the clincher. It's the same leap as the first time, but now it's harmonised completely differently, with a chord that's partly wistful, partly expectant. And that kind of epiphany, that slight change - the one telling chord, the one moment that sums up all the emotion - is what's so perfect about Träumerei.. it's an exquisite moment carefully contrived so that one leap has all the emotion of a great symphony. There's a wonderful quote from Yeats that goes: 'Any object properly regarded can be the pathway to the gods.' And any chord, set up as beautifully as this, can somehow have the same value of radiant epiphany as a huge symphonic masterwork."

One of the finest interpretations of this mesmerising composition by the musical giant Robert Schumann is by the Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang. Lang Lang delivers an extravagant and a profoundly moving performance evoking both deep sadness and sublime peace with great finesse.

It is also said that the Soviet Union state radio played this music when the guns finally went silent at the end of WWII. This music is also said to be played every hour at the grand war memorial in the city of Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, in addition being played in a loop at the war memorial in St. Petersburg since its opening in 1960. According to some, the music was also played at the state funeral of former Soviet revolutionary and politician Joseph Stalin.

Ah, the irony of German music being played at a Russian WWII memorial - perhaps the war and the hate associated with it is really over. Time certainly stood still on the day I discovered this great piece of music.., Grande Schumann!

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