The Cry of the <i>Schuhu</i>

Susan Youens

in Rethinking Schumann

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393859
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894406 | DOI:
The Cry of the Schuhu

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In Robert Schumann's song “Warnung,” Op. 119, no. 2, the composer both foreshadows Mahler in certain moods (austere textures, free counterpoint with bone‐on‐bone dissonances) and hints at postrevolutionary disillusionment, veiled in folklore and inference. This song is couched between harmless, nonpolitical songs on texts by Gustav Pfarrius (1800–1884) from his anthology Die Waldlieder (The Forest Songs) of 1850. Pfarrius was a liberal, Schumann the more radical republican, but both men tell in “Warnung” of the menace to artists—the “little bird” of Pfarrius's poem—whose song can be silenced by the horned owl symbolic of evil political power.

Keywords: Lieder; 1848 revolutions; Gustav Pfarrius; German forest symbolism; the symbolism of owls; Schumann's late style; Schumann's politics; German republican sentiments; Warnung

Chapter.  7782 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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