BOOK CLUB WITH THE MAESTRO
Hosted by Daniel Kleinknecht
Featuring Schumann: The Faces and the Masks by Judith Chernaik
From the Maestro: “This book was published in 2018 and is new to me but is the perfect read before our March concert. Schumann’s music was a staple in my diet when I was a pianist in high school and as an undergraduate. Now, to look back on his music and his philosophies as we are presenting Schumann song cycles, I have more appreciation for what he stood for as a pianist, composer, and editor of a music magazine, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Schumann was entrenched in cerebral battles with the Wagnerites about the direction of music in the 19th century. His wife, the brilliant pianist Clara, remained not only his muse, but one of the most impassioned proponents of his compositions. His life was vivid and his death harrowing.”
Questions to Contemplate:
1. What does the title of the book mean to you? What were Robert Schumann's faces, what were his masks?
2. What about his music makes him a true Romantic composer?
3. How did the characters Floristan and Eusebius influence his life’s work, both musical and literary?
4. As editor of Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (The New Magazine for Music), how did he influence musical thought in Germany?
5. In what way was RS an anti-semite?
6. How did RS interact with the public or in social circles, and do you think this influenced his musical compositions?
7. Why did RS become a composer rather than a pianist?
8. How do you explain Wieck’s changing feelings toward RS?
9. Are you surprised at the way Wieck treated his daughter, Clara?
10. What are some differences between Chopin and his music and RS?