Requiem fur Mignon op.98B (SoliSSAAB-Choir SATTBB-Orch.) - Robert Schumann

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Requiem fur Mignon op.98B (Soli[SSAAB]-Choir [SATTBB]-Orch.)
Requiem fur Mignon op.98B (Soli[SSAAB]-Choir [SATTBB]-Orch.) Requiem fur Mignon op.98B (Soli[SSAAB]-Choir [SATTBB]-Orch.)
006668, 9790004181775
Breitkopf & Hartel
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Robert Schumann 1810-1856
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Oratorium/Missen en Grotere Koorwerken
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Requiem fur Mignon op.98B (SoliSSAAB-Choir SATTBB-Orch.) - Robert Schumann

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Schumann wrote his Neun Lieder und Gesänge aus Goethes 'Wilhelm Meister' Op. 98a and his Requiem für Mignon aus Goethes 'Wilhelm Meister' for soli, choir and orchestra Op. 98b in 1849, the year in which the hundredth anniversary of Goethe's birth was celebrated. The text was taken from the eighth chapter of the eighth book of Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre ('Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'). The title figure of the story within the Goethe novel had obviously deeply impressed Schumann. He prefaced his composition with an introductory narration of Mignon's death and the assembly of the mourners in Goethe's own words, altered only slightly in the first sentence. Schumann's musical setting begins where this text leaves off, that is, with the dialogue between the 'choir', which represents the spirits of the departed and is set by Schumann for a mixed choir, and the 'youths,' who wake at the sarcophagus and are performed by two soprano and two alto soloists in Schumann's scoring. The musical setting of the text concludes logically where the dialogue ends and the narration takes up anew. The Requiem is divided into six sections. The first begins with the question asked by 'two invisible choirs' in a 'sweet song': 'Whom are you bringing to our quiet gathering?' The 'four children' answer 'in a charming tone': 'We bring you a tired playmate.' The choir then greets the departed in softly flowing harmonies as the 'Firstborn, the youngest in our circle.' In the following dialogue between the choir of the spirits and the four children, the choir attempts, at first in vain, to console the children. Arpeggios in the harp are heard at the mention of the 'light and pure dress' and the 'powerful wings.' Towards the end, in the fifth section, a baritone solo exhorts the children to dry their tears and return to earthly life. Just before the close, at the words 'wreath of immortality' at the end of the sixth section, the predominantly diatonic flow is suddenly interrupted by a sharp chromatic turn. Thus concludes, in tones of hope and joy of life, the initially melancholy funeral and commemorative music for the departed maiden, the graceful ('mignon' in French signifies dainty) but mysterious, puzzling being, one of Goethe's favorite creations. Although Schumann rejects contrapuntal intricacies to a great extent in this piece and prefers a full harmony which only occasionally assumes a more pungent character, this work is considered one of Schumann's best lyrical choral compositions.

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