Rhenish

Robert Schumann wrote four symphonies. The last of them, the third (don′t ask! …well, not yet, anyway) was dubbed – not by Schumann – The Rhenish. With the exception of one movement, it’s a rather jolly work and its nickname seems, for once, almost justified [seeming to conjure the great waterway (of course); jolly peasants; mist-shrouded castles; historic, picturesque villages; vineyards, etc.] And even the other movement – “In the Character of the Accompaniment to a Solemn Ceremony” – has, somehow or other, become associated with Cologne and its cathedral – the story is that the composer attended the elevation of a cardinal in the church: he didn’t.

Clara Schumann also contributed – though wittingly this time –to the artistic ethos surrounding the Rhine. She set one of Heine’s most famous poems, The Lorelei which tells the dramatic story of a siren-like female whose singing lures unsuspecting boatmen to an early, watery death.

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