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Glazunov's Writings, Blog 2: Robert Schumann & the E flat Symphony [No. 3 "Rhenish"]

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AKA Glazunov being a REALLLLL snoot while also being quite the zealous advocate of one of his all-time favorite compositions. I got a lot of laughs out of this one, and it was much easier to translate:

The great German composer Robert Schumann, born in 1810, unlike his predecessors, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and contemporaries, began to study thoroughly and musically develop relatively late, having been about 20 years old.
The creative attitude Schumann began to move forward quickly. 1st and 4th symphonies were composed in 1841, at the age of 30, 2nd - in 1846, and 3rd (actually the last one) in 1850, six years before his death and within the three years to detect his tragic, fatal disease.

The E flat Symphony is a product of inspired, highly sophisticated and mature, both in form and in brightness and depth of thought, bordering on genius. With regard to the external side of the voices however, and mainly the instrumentation, it is somehow not quite given to the composer.

His orchestra has especially little flavor; observed lack of knowledge of stringed instruments, resulting in a monotonous use of them. Topics for the most part entrusted to the first violins, while the latter [the violin] and Viola rarely play with them and often fill octave minor voice. Location of the winds is often strange, complete gaps and lying a little loud in the middle registers; many random doubles, etc.

Schumann himself was aware of his shortcomings, when he said that if, with his talent, he possessed the technique of Mendelssohn, with whom he was very friendly, he (Schumann), even more would be able to show themselves in the work.
In the orchestral works of Schumann there is use of modern means of his era - he had a pair of horns and trumpets with chromatic (valve), and almost constantly three trombones, but still the sonority of this little wins.

Finding that the E flat symphony's four-hand transcription sounds fuller and smoother than in the orchestra, I took the liberty of editing the instrumentation without touching its color. This task, associated with hard work, is extremely thankless. It is unlikely that the public will notice it and find suitable, and even criticize it. But for me it would be great moral satisfaction, if you young professional musicians, standing close to the art, assess the results of my concerns about my enthusiastically favorite work.

[I've never heard of or seen this re-orchestration... and I would be interested to find it and hear it performed, though I doubt no one would do it these days. The past is untouchable!

UPDATE: I found out this re-orchestration has been lost, so o well ]

Updated Sep-19-2015 at 03:34 by Huilunsoittaja (Update)

Classical Music , Personal , Other , Composers