Schumann’s 4th Symphony, as you might guess from the title of this post, has a rather checkered history. It’s one of the composer’s most original works – which might go some way toward explaining the rather chilly reception it got when first performed in 1841.
The score languished on Schumann’s work desk for ten years; then, in 1851, he decided to re-orchestrate and slightly re-jig the piece, and, after some agonising over the title, published it as his 4th Symphony.
The originality? The symphony is really a one movement piece with much of its musical material derived from a motif heard at the beginning of the work:
There’s more to this little phrase than meets the eye (or should that be ear?) — elucidation on Wednesday.
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as “fair use”, for the purpose of study, and critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).