Happy New Year

Printer-friendly version

2010 is the bicentennial of the birth of the Romantic composer, Robert Schumann. The Hodgson School of Music will have several events to commemorate this anniversary, including our 2nd Thursday concert in February, Schumanniad (February 11). In addition to being one of the most important composers of the 19th century, Schumann was an influential critic. Serving as editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik from its beginning in 1834 until 1844, he championed younger composers - Chopin and Brahms in particular. From Schumann's On Music and Musicians, translated and edited by Henry Pleasants, this is from chapter two on Henri Vieuxtemps and Louis Lacombe, 1834:

A dozen applauding Frenchmen, to be sure, do more than an entire hall full of Germans, lost in blissful communion with Beethoven. With the French every nerve applauds, from head to foot. Enthusiasm crashes them together like cymbals. The Germans do a quick review of musical history, comparing epochs, fleetingly, but well - and then you have that mezzoforte that has ever distinguished out manifestations of approval. This time it was different. And why should one not rejoice in an appreciative audience, particularly since the boys deserved it? Whoever presents himself before the public should be neither too young nor too old, but rather in full bloom; and not just in one part or another, but all over. With Henri one can comfortably close one's eyes. His playing has the fragrance of a flower. His accomplishment is complete, masterly throughout. When speaking of Vieuxtemps it is possible to think of Paganini. When I first heard the latter I rather assumed that the sound would be unique right from the start. Nothing of the kind! He began with a tone so thin, so small! Then effortlessly, almost imperceptibly, he cast his magnetic chains. They oscillated from artist to listener, from listener to artist, becoming ever more wondrous, more intricate, while the listeners pressed together in a bond of common fascination. He bound them ever tighter until they had become as one, to face him as a single entity and to receive from him as one from another.

A bond of common fascination, indeed.