1840 Liederjahr

Liederjahr = the Year of Song.

Two years prior to 1842’s splurge of chamber music, Schumann, with the same monomania/single-mindedness that he was to lavish on the string quartet and piano quartet and quintet, spent most of 1840 writing songs. He managed in that one year to produce a grand total of 138 of them! Amongst this cornucopia of lieder there are no less than five song cycles, the most famous of which (justly, to my mind) is the setting of 16 of Heine’s poems, Dichterliebe (Poet’s love).

From the wonderful ambiguity of its opening…

through to the final drowning of the poet’s love and pain, the cycle is full of miraculous music.

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