Deep in the forest…

Waldszenen, (Forest Scenes) Op. 82 is one of Schumann’s last piano works. It consists of nine short pieces all with (sometimes enigmatic) titles.

This is no ordinary leaf-mold-under-foot, dappled-sunlight sort of forest but a magical one out of the fairy stories of Grimm and Perrault and; while many of the pieces are jolly evocations of hunters, wayside inns and pleasant scenery; the work certainly has its darker side – Verrufene Stelle (Cursed Place) is prefixed by a quotation from the poet Christian Friedrich Hebbel:

Die Blumen, so hoch sie wachsen,
Sind blass hier, wie der Tod;
Nur eine in der Mitte
Steht da, im dunkeln Roth.

Die hat es nicht von der Sonne:
Nie traf sie deren Gluth;
Sie hat es von der Erde,
Und die trank Menschenblut.

(The flowers that grow so high here,
Are pale, like death;
Only one, there in the center
Stands, a dark red.

The color comes not from the sun:
It never met its rays;
It comes from the earth,
Which drank of human blood.)

while Vogel als Prophet (Prophet Bird) was originally – Schumann later removed the text – preceded by a stern admonition from the poet Eichendorff to “Be careful, stay alert and watchful!”

  1. Eintritt (Entrance)
  2. Jäger auf der Lauer (Hunter in Ambush)
  3. Einsame Blumen (Lonely Flowers)
  4. Verrufene Stelle (Cursed Place)
  5. Freundliche Landschaft (Friendly  Landscape)
  6. Herberge (Country Inn)
  7. Vogel als Prophet (Prophet Bird)
  8. Jagdlied (Hunting Song)
  9. Abschied (Farewell)

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