Schumann's genius as a composer is well known; perhaps less well known is the fact that he was also a gifted music critic who wrote hundreds of perceptive essays, articles, and reviews for the Neue Zeitschrift fur Müsik, the influential music journal he founded in 1834.
The present work, translated and edited by noted critic Henry Pleasants, contains 61 of the most important critical pieces Schumann wrote for Neue Zeitschrift between 1834 and 1844. The articles are arranged in chronological order, with ample annotation, demonstrating not only Schumann's development as a writer and critic but also the evolution of music in Europe during a decisive decade.
In addition to such major set pieces as "Florestan's Shrovetide Oration," the essays on Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Schubert's Symphony in C Major, and the imaginative and literate "The Editor's Ball," this volume offers discerning observations on Mendelssohn, Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, Cherubini, and other giants. Also included are critical considerations of an ensemble of minor masters: Sphor, Hiller, Moscheles, Hummel, and Gade, among others. The result is a rich and representative picture of musical life in the mid-19th century.
Schumann's criticism has long been famous for its perceptiveness and literary style. Those qualities are in ample evidence in this treasury of his finest critical writings, now available to every music lover in this inexpensive, high-quality edition.