Davidsbündler, Op.6 is one of Robert Schumann’s early compositions; it is a piano suite of consisting of eighteen character pieces. A poetic composition, the work is notable for its simplicity and sincerity. It has a strong affiliation with the ideology of Schumann’s Davidsbund (League of David), his partly real, partly imaginary band of musicians and critics who crusaded against the musical philistines, whose compositions exemplified empty virtuosity, particularly in keyboard music. In addition, Schumann wrote Davidsbündler, with the intention of honoring his future wife Clara Wieck, borrowing the motifs from Clara’s compositions as cyclical motifs throughout the composition. Therefore, Davidsbündler, is highly autobiographical in nature, a work in which Schumann illustrated not only his compositional style, but also expressed his intimate messages to Clara. To exemplify the autobiographical features, I first discuss Schumann’s troublesome romantic relationship with Clara which inspired him to compose the Davidsbündler. Secondly, I provide an explanation of the influence of the Davidsbund in this work. With the ideals of the Davidsbund as background, Davidsbündler, Op.6 displays Schumann’s inclinations towards the poetic side of music and his interest in character pieces notable for their brevity. Importantly, Eusebius and Florestan, the two major Davidsbund characters, appear in the Davidsbündler, Op.6, representing Schumann’s dual personality in his personal diaries and correspondences. Furthermore, the story behind the names Eusebius and Florestan are associated with his relationship with Clara, thus enhancing the autobiographical quality of Davidsbündler. Finally, I present all the musical motifs and other types of symbolism associated with Clara, which indicate Schumann’s love for her in this crucial example of romanticism.
|Keywords:||Robert Schumann, ‘Davidsbündler’, Autobiographical Composition, Music Criticism, Davidsbund, Clara Schumann, Eusebius and Florestan|
Doctoral Student in Historical Musicology, Graduate Assistant, Music Department, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
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