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.