Deserted Chambers of the Mind (Schumann Memories)

Laura Tunbridge

in Rethinking Schumann

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393859
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894406 | DOI:
Deserted Chambers of the Mind (Schumann Memories)

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This chapter discusses the significance of two persistent themes in late twentieth‐century musical, filmic, and visual representations of Schumann's life and legacy: childhood and mental illness. Responses to Schumann can be framed within the terms of renegotiating relationships with the German Romantic canon after World War II. But rather than evoking grand historical narratives, Schumann's music is more consistently connected with personal memories of childhood experiences and explorations of mental illness, as is demonstrated through examples from a range of decades, media, and continents, from film (Ingmar Bergman) and the visual arts (Anselm Kiefer and Neo Rauch) to music (from R. Murray Schafer and Francis Dhomont to Wolfgang Rihm and Heinz Holliger). Composers' use of musical quotations and commentaries on their works suggest that Schumann is considered to have been detached from the world, either physically (through his incarceration at Endenich) or mentally (through fantasies and hallucinations).

Keywords: Quotation; Wolfgang Rihm; Francis Dhomont; Heinz Holliger; childhood; memory; mental illness; Ingmar Bergman

Chapter.  5112 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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