At Cleveland Music Club

Music Club met Oct. 5 at First Presbyterian

Posted 10/11/17

The Cleveland Music Club met for its monthly meeting and a "Music of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann" at the First Presbyterian Church on Oct. 5.

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At Cleveland Music Club

Music Club met Oct. 5 at First Presbyterian


The Cleveland Music Club met for its monthly meeting and a "Music of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann" at the First Presbyterian Church on Oct. 5.

 After his greetings to members and guests, President Rick Donegan expressed the club's appreciation to the hosts for the use of the church facilities. He thanked all program participants, also, and the Hospitality Committee, chaired by Karen Archer, who together with Margaret Ann and Sheridan Randolph, had prepared refreshments to be served after the meeting.

Roll call and reading of the September meeting minutes was given by Secretary Dortha Townsend, and Treasurer Terry Barger presented his financial report.

After several other announcements, Donegan explained April Itson will direct the club's Nov. 2 music program titled "Let Us Give Thanks." He asked members to let her know as soon as possible which selections they would like to perform on that program to be held at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library.

Program Director Aggie Scott introduced the "Music of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann" by sharing some facts published about the composers, pointing out those two giants of the Romantic era of music who began composing at a very young age and created an incredible amount of music during their short lives:

— Austrian Franz Schubert was born into a modest family in Vienna in 1797. His father, a schoolmaster, taught him to play the violin and his older brother gave him piano lessons. Within 3 years, Schubert was composing his first string quartets, songs and piano pieces, and when he left the school at age 16, because his voice broke, he had already composed a symphony.But he was unable to financially survive as a composer. Unlike the well-known concert pianist and composer Beethoven, who lived in Vienna at the same time, Schubert was not a concert pianist. Also, Beethoven was savvy and experienced in marketing himself and his music. Despite being broke throughout the less than 20 years his career lasted, he produced symphonies, operas, overtures, masses, string quartets and quintets, 20 piano sonatas, some 50 choral works and more, but he is probably best known for writing music to poetry and for creating over 600 art songs, known as "Lieder." Schubert died of syphilis before his 32nd birthday. 

— The German composer Robert Schumann was born in Zwickau, (Saxonia), in 1810. He was not only well-known for his music, but he was equally famous as a music critic and writer. As the co-founder and editor of The New Journal of Music, which is still a relevant publication to this day, he played a major role as advocate for new music and for leading composers of his time. His father was a successful book dealer and publisher who introduced his son to fine literature. It made him grow up being attracted to both music and literature. Studying piano at a private school, he became familiar with works of Bach, Haydn and Mozart and he soon started composing his own music. But even though he was born into a wealthy family, it was a family with mental health problems that caused Schumann's sister to commit suicide, and his father died of a nervous disorder just a few months later. It drove the then 16-year old boy into his first severe depression, and episodes of mental illness plagued him throughout his life.
When Schumann wanted to marry Frederick Wieck's daughter, Clara, an accomplished concert pianist since the age of 9,  Wieck refused because Clara's concerts had been making him a rich man. Schumann sued Wieck, but it took a year before the court decided in his favor and he was able to marry her in 1840. The couple had 8 children, which did not stop Clara from continuing to give concerts and she often played her husband's works. She remained his pillar of strength as his attacks of illness — diagnosed as bipolar and as syphilis — were becoming more frequent and severe. During the winter of 1854, Schumann went completely berserk when he jumped from a bridge into the Rhine River. After being rescued by a boatman, Schumann himself requested to be taken to an asylum, near Bonn. He died there two years later at the age of 46, and he is buried in Bonn, Germany.

Margaret Ann Randolph began the music program with a piano solo of the "Marche Militaire" (Op.51, No.1) by Franz Schubert.

Carolyn Lay sang "What Care I Now," a translation of "Ich Grolle Nicht" (Op.48, No.7), from Robert Schumann's "Dichterliebe." Martha Lessig accompanied her on the piano.

Jean Henderson followed with a piano solo of "StŠndchen" (D 957, No.4) from Schubert's "Schwanengesang."

The duo of Rick Donegan, trumpet, and Karen Archer, piano, presented "Three Romances" (Op.94, No.1) by Schumann.

Archer continued with the piano solo of a "Ländler" by Schubert. He composed many of those Austrian folk dances that led to the popularity of the Viennese waltz.

April Itson (flute), Sandy Donegan (oboe) and Pam Smith (clarinet) played Schubert's "Soldiers  March" (Op.68, No.2), from his "Album for the Young." Smith stood-in for George Olin, who is a regular member of the group that plays together as the "Cleveland Woodwind Trio."

Lessig continued with a piano medley from Schumann's "Album for the Young" (Op. 68) that included "The Wild Horseman," "Bagatelle" and "The Merry Farmer."

Accompanied by Barger on the piano, Andy Hunt sang Schubert's"Ave Maria" (D 839, Op.52). The original lyrics are known as "Ellen"s Third Song," from Sir Walter Scott's poem "Lady of the Lake." When Schubert's melody was later used with the Latin words of the Roman Catholic prayer "Ave Maria," it became one of his best-known works and it has been recorded that way by many famous singers.

Pianist Margaret Ann Randolph closed the program by playing the first of eight movements of Schumann's "Kreisleriana," Op. 16.


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