Florestan and Eusebius: A Look into the Critical and Creative Mindset of Robert Schumann Through the Study of Selected Writings and Fantasiestücke op. 73 für Klavier und Klarinette
Lewis, Lauren B
Robert Schumann was an extremely influential composer and music critic during the Romantic era. Recognized for his strong connection between literature and music, musicians remember Schumann as one of the great composers of the nineteenth century. As the editor of Neue Zeitschift für Musik (New Periodical for Music) for ten years, Schumann wrote various articles critiquing distinguished and rising composers based on both technical and expressive elements in their music. Often, Schumann offered his critique through three separate characters: Eusebius, Florestan, and Master Raro. Entertaining and story-like, these character portrayals envelope aspects of Schumann’s personality and compositional style. For example, Florestan’s character is passionate, exuberant, and sometimes impulsive. On the other hand, Eusebius represents a thoughtful and reflective approach to criticism. He acts as a dreamer or romantic, and usually leaves some positive remark. These two contrasting characters are both used to describe music composed in the mid to late 1800’s. Florestan and Eusebius address separate issues and contribute to a rich understanding of the music through Schumann’s critique. Master Raro often synthesizes these conclusions into one digestible object, combining the technical and expressive elements of music. This paper will attempt to discover the technical and expressive aspects of Robert Schumann’s compositional process through the study of these characters and some of his selected works. Through an examination of Schumann’s biography, writings from Neue Zeitschift für Musik, other selected writings, and the composition Fantasiestücke op. 73 für Klavier und Klarinette, this paper will debate the division and connection of Schumann’s critical and creative mindset as exemplified through Florestan, Eusebius, and consolidated through Master Raro.
East Carolina University