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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Schumann: Scenes from Childhood Op.15 No.8 "By the Fireside"

Alright, let me start by giving my general impression of the piece. To be honest, I felt like I was listening to a soundtrack for a Jane Austen movie. This isn't bad at all! I love Jane Austen, and this is in the style of much of the music associated with her novels.
The piece starts with arpeggiated chords as the bass function, while the right hand plays a simple, reminiscent sounding melody. The first idea that came to my head was either a child sitting at a huge piano playing this, because it is so very simple, this is a completely valid thought. The second thought that comes to mind with the reminiscent pull to the bass function is of course an adult remembering what its like to be a child. If in fact, either of these ideas were key to Schumann's composing of his "Scenes from Childhood", I feel that they were accurately portrayed.
The used of the bass arpeggiations give the piece a solid rhythmic bass that would be important to a young child learning to play a piano piece (if that was the intention???) The musical phrases almost always end in perfect authentic cadences as well, making the form and structure of the piece easy to follow, and understand. When the phrase is repeated, for about the third time or so, it shifts tonally a bit, though not far enough away from the tonic, or for long enough to be considered a true modulation.
Once again, as I sat listening to the piece again and again, Julie is kind of turning her nose up because "its boring and simple", however, I can definately appreciate the purpose Schumann had in writing the piece that way and secretly, I thought it was kind of pretty :)

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