Robert Schumann, Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (1838)
Louise Fishman‘s stunning painting, Kreisleriana (2015), re-introduced me to Schumann’s composition, and I listen to it often. Painter Rebecca Allen wrote of Fishman’s Kreisleriana and her work as a whole:
Kreisleriana, (2015), divides the canvas into vertical bands of fiery yellows, reds, and blues that suggest the emotional contrasts of Robert Schumann’s work for solo piano. Because music is the most abstract art form, paintings in response to it can often be lame (illustrative) equivalents. That doesn’t happen here.
I see Fishman’s paintings in this domain as a reflection of her deep intellect and nuanced understanding of spatial and rhythmic structure. They are influenced by the focus and attention of a deep listener, but they are independent objects. At the top of her game, Louise Fishman translates aural, physical, and visual experiences into radiant and muscular works of art whose tension is maintained by the grid that anchors her fierce gesture. Her hard-won joie de vivre, born of new travels, immersion in music, and a contented relationship, underscore this substantive, if belated retrospective. [citation]
From program notes on Schumann’s work:
To understand the origins of this Romantic masterpiece by Robert Schumann, one must start with E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) the German writer, painter, critique, composer and caricaturist who studied law, the sciences, arts and music at the University of Konigsberg and became one of the first creators of short fantasy and horror stories. To say that he had an unsettled life would be an understatement, yet the influence of his writings on art, music and even psychology was far-reaching. . . .
It has been argued with much justification that Hoffmann and Schumann were kindred spirits, that Hoffmann inspired Schumann. . . . in Hoffmann’s “Kreisleriana” a mad musician, the Kapellmeister Kreisler appears. Kreisler is depicted as a dashing, crazed figure of a genius musician whose personality is so hypersensitive that he is constantly drawn between his visions, dreams and reality, searching for his special heaven that might grant him the peace and serenity for the creation of his music. A better description of Schumann’s personality would be hard to find, although because of the age difference, Schumann could not have been the model for Kreisler. [citation]
Credits: The sources for the quotations are as indicated in the post. The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.