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Rethinking Schumann$
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Roe-Min Kok and Laura Tunbridge

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393859.001.0001

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The Cry of the Schuhu

The Cry of the Schuhu

Dissonant History in a Late Schumann Song

Chapter:
(p.30) 3 The Cry of the Schuhu
Source:
Rethinking Schumann
Author(s):

Susan Youens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393859.003.0003

In Robert Schumann's song “Warnung,” Op. 119, no. 2, the composer both foreshadows Mahler in certain moods (austere textures, free counterpoint with bone‐on‐bone dissonances) and hints at postrevolutionary disillusionment, veiled in folklore and inference. This song is couched between harmless, nonpolitical songs on texts by Gustav Pfarrius (1800–1884) from his anthology Die Waldlieder (The Forest Songs) of 1850. Pfarrius was a liberal, Schumann the more radical republican, but both men tell in “Warnung” of the menace to artists—the “little bird” of Pfarrius's poem—whose song can be silenced by the horned owl symbolic of evil political power.

Keywords:   Lieder, 1848 revolutions, Gustav Pfarrius, German forest symbolism, the symbolism of owls, Schumann's late style, Schumann's politics, German republican sentiments, Warnung

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