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Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  Dichterliebe, Op. 48, No. 7: Ich grolle nicht
Robert Schumann
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 9 Track 35

She is the one wearing diamonds going around being splendid while you cry in your beer yet you pity her for being so lovely. This painfully familiar scenario set to music could almost serve as an anthem to many young men early in the lessons of love.

Appropriate for an anthem, our heroic composer has set these words in C Major with plenty upward leaps of fourths and fifths. The tune manages to move through the scale without losing reference to scale degrees Do, Mi, and and without become too obviously dependent on them. This balance is partly accomplished through an emphatic use of scale degree Ti which appears frequently but only once, and then very briefly, as a leading tone. Coupled with a strong bass line, the clarity of the tune allows the piano to indulge in plenty of seventh chords that do not resolve.

More significant than any pitch choice Mr. Schumann made in setting this declaration is his choice of instrument. The meaning of the poem is something a baritone singer would likely relate to, the pitches are easily found, and the piano is proudly supportive. It is the sound of the baritone voice, simply the sound, that takes center stage. 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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