8. Rhine gold

Heine’s Rhenish siren/femme fatale as conjured by Clara Schumann:



Robert Schumann’s last symphony (if you recall the so-called Fourth Symphony is actually a revision of a work written in 1841) was composed in late 1851. While he didn’t actually call the symphony ‘the Rhenish’ the composer’s suppressed title for the second movement, ‘Morning on the Rhine’, and the (also suppressed) description of the fourth movement as ‘In the character of the accompaniment to a solemn ceremony’ (see below)…

… with its supposed reference to the elevation of an archbishop to cardinal in Cologne cathedral, tie the work very much to the Rhineland.

Schumann wanted to write a symphony using what he described as ‘popular elements’ and certainly many of the themes of the work have a straightforward, lyrical, folk-like quality.

Robert Schumann:
Symphony 3 in E-flat, Op. 97
The Rhenish

0:02 Lebhaft
9:27 Scherzo: Sehr mäßig
15:30 Nicht schnell
20:44 Feierlich
26:34 Lebhaft


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