Schumann - Arlequin from Carnaval Op 9

Full range 60
07/12/2020 19:41

Arlequin or Harlequin is Mvt.3 of Schumann's Carnaval. Its rhythmic figure is coquetish and playful. When Liszt met Clara Wieck (later Clara Schumann) in Vienna in 1838 and she played Carnaval for him, he exclaimed, "What a mind! This is one of the greatest works I have ever heard." Carnaval, Op.9 is one of Schumann's most successful compositions. He composed it in 1834-35 when aged 24-25 and dedicated it to Carl Lipinski. It was published by Breitkopf & Hartel in 1837. The subtitle, Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes, is because almost all the movements begin with the notes A, E-flat, C and B (in German, A, Es, C and H) or A-flat, C, and B (As, C and H) appear, the musical letters of Schumann's name, Asch also being a Bohemian town. Descriptive titles refer not only to carnival characters such as Pierrot, and Harlequin, but also to Schumann himself and his friends. At the Carnival, Schumann meets Pierrot, Pantalon and Columbine, Harlequin, Chiarina (the 16 year old Clara Wieck), and his current romantic interest, Estrella (Ernestine von Fricken, whose native town was Asch). Schumann sent a copy of Carnaval to the pianist Ignaz Moscheles in 1837 with this note, "It will be child's play for you to figure out the masked ball. And I need hardly assure you that the titles and the arrangement of the pieces arose AFTER the pieces were already written." In another letter to Moscheles, however, Schumann explained that in spite of the descriptive titles and associations of the movements, "The titles I added later. Indeed, is not music sufficient unto itself, elequent in itself? ...All this has no artistic significance. The only interest seems to me to lie in the various spiritual states and moods."