Frauenliebe und Leben <i>Now and Then</i>

Kristina Muxfeldt

in Vanishing Sensibilities

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782420
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919154 | DOI:
Frauenliebe und Leben Now and Then

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Marriage is a central theme in Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben too. (The “right to choose,” and a growing ideal of marriage as the goal of romantic love, remained lively social and legal issues in the decade after Schubert’s death.) Muxfeldt discusses the disjunction between modern misgivings about a male-authored song cycle that sets forth a woman’s perspective on memorable milestones in her life, and the avant-garde musical aesthetic and in some ways forward social thinking the piece reflected in its time. Early nineteenth century writers on cognition and poets sometimes used an identification with the figure of Woman to explore mechanisms of perception. Schumann’s participation in this trend has given us one of the most remarkable representations in music of the experience of memory—a widow’s effort to remember her departed spouse. Included in this newly revised study are reflections on the performance history of the piece.

Keywords: Schumann; Frauenliebe und Leben; reception; song cycle; women; memory; performance history; social history

Chapter.  17336 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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