The Catholic University of America

Music and Poetry in Robert Schumann's Lieder

Dr. Andrew H. Weaver

 

Robert Schumann has long been recognized as one of the masters of the early Romantic Lied.  This seminar is an in-depth look at Schumann’s song output, organized around the poets whose works he set most frequently: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Adelbert von Chamisso, Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, and Heinrich Heine.  Attention will be paid to both the poetry and the music, focusing especially on the text–music relationship and the construction of musical meaning within Schumann’s Romantic aesthetic.  Other topics to be covered in the course are issues in the song cycle as conceived by Schumann (narrative, meaning, and coherence), as well as the stylistic shift in Schumann’s later Lieder.  Throughout the semester we will approach the works both through critical evaluations of the work of other scholars and through our own hands-on engagement with the poetry and music.

 

Classes shall be conducted primarily as discussion, with frequent student presentations; students will receive weekly reading and listening assignments and will also occasionally write short papers.  There is also a final independent research paper on a topic of the student’s choice, which need not be limited to the songs of Robert Schumann. 

 

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