Pure Romance

 Robert and Clara Schumann

Robert and Clara Schumann

I'm sending "heart medicine" to my dear friends Jerry, Soichiro, and Joanne—all who have lost wonderful life partners just very recently. This is my performance of a little precious gem of a piano piece by Robert Schumann written for his fiancée Clara—his second Romance (from Three Romances op. 28) . It speaks to anyone who has had a 'soul mate,' even if only a short while. In just three minutes, it  perfectly fuses musical and programmatic structure.

My brief "romantic" analysis follows:
The melody is a vocal duet played in parallel 3rds. It represents the lovers with their parallel hearts. Together they anchor each other in the center register of the piano. Both a low and high accompaniment emanate and revolve around the couple's central melody. In a short middle section, harmonic tension brings them stress and drama, momentarily separating them. But they reconnect and imitate each other in expressive phrases, culminating in a quasi-operatic climax . The piece ends in romantic sublimity; the accompaniment fades away, leaving just the eternal resonance of the two lovers. All of this happens in just 3 minutes. Part of its psychological magic is that Schumann composes it in the most 'distant' of keys— F# major. 

When you lose someone, nothing compensates. But a gem like this can console.