Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis. Page: 3
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scenes is a prerequisite to understanding and appreciating Schumann's composition. In his desire
to write a literary opera, Schumann's goal was to compose music that should illuminate the
meaning of the text thereby edifying the audience.
One purpose of an analysis of the structure and content of Schumann's Scenen aus
Goethes Faust and Goethe's poetry is to facilitate the solo vocal performer's interpretation.
Utilizing selected scenes from Scenen aus Goethes Faust, "Scene im Garten" from Part I,
"Sonnenaufgang, " and "Mitternacht" from Part II and "Hier ist die Aussicht frei" from Part III,
this research paper will define important recurring musical motives, assess Schumann's usage of
contrasting vocal genres and their relationship to the unfolding drama, explore important vocal
performance issues for the baritone and soprano soloists and investigate the manner in which
Schumann uses the orchestra to depict and communicate the meaning of Goethe's text.
Schumann declared to Franz Brendel that the medium of music could heighten the
emotional impact of the text and felt that his musical setting should not undermine Goethe's text.
Schumann's method of setting Goethe's text will also be examined, as the ability to comprehend
the poetic text was of primary importance.
Scenen aus Goethes Faust is set as an oratorio and is divided into three large parts of
seven scenes (Part III "Faust's Verklairung" is further divided into seven numbers) for soloists,
chorus and orchestra. Triple premiere performances of Schumann's setting of Part III took place
on August 29, 1849 in Weimar (Liszt conducting), Dresden (Schumann conducting), and in
Leipzig in honor of the hundredth anniversary of Goethe's birth. "Scene im Garten," "Gretchen
vor dem Bild der Mater Dolorosa" and "Scene in Dom," from Part I, were composed in the
summer of 1849. The first performance of all seven scenes and the overture took place in
Cologne on January 13, 1862 following Schumann's death.
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Paoletti Jr., Karl. Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9053/m1/9/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .