Robert Schumann's Kerner-Liederreihe, Op. 35: Its Compositional Genesis and the Question of Organic Unity

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2006-05-07

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Robert Schumann's Zwölf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner, Op. 35 has received little scholarly attention, perhaps because it does not seem to be musically or poetically unified. Part 1 of this study is an examination of the biography and work of the poet of the texts, Justinus Kerner. In Part 2, a possible compositional genesis of the work is posited, based on study of unpublished autograph material, letters, Schumann's Tagebücher, and relevant historical context. Other scholars have established that financial need influenced Robert Schumann's "Year of Song." The Kerner-Liederreihe, composed during this year, seems to have been especially motivated by financial worries, because Schumann created it in response to the request of a local publisher. The published order of the twelve songs, which several other scholars have failed to explain convincingly, is here shown to result from the composer's compositional process and marketing issues raised by the publisher.

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