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Till Fellner, Schumann, Symphonic Studies

Sequence published on 4/17/21
Composer : Robert Schumann
Year of composition : 1834
Artistic period : 19th century
Musical category : Etude
Academy : Academy Apr. 11 - Apr. 18, 2021
Master(s) : Till Fellner
Student : Nour Ayadi
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"for the listeners in the beginning, it's important just to understand that's the theme. So I would play it a little bit simpler (…) let's try to be more fluent (…) concentrate a little bit more on the phrasing." Till Fellner

About the Piano class of Till Fellner on the Etudes symphoniques

Master class Piano Till Fellner Schumann Études symphoniq.

So we have decided to go piece by piece, variation, by variation. It seems to be the most efficient way for this setting”, affirms the master at the beginning, so the development of this class works on these first moments of the symphonic poem, also in detail and meticulously on each aspect of this piece by Schumann.

Thus, he works together with the student on the importance of understanding the theme and highlights why it should be played in a simple way, without so much rubato. Much of the class is about working on the fluency of musical discourse, concentrating on phrasing and ensuring that the theme is “cantabile”. Highlighting the inner voices (“not just the soprano”), that the speech is “more connected, more cantabile ” with a clear pedal and looking constantly for a beautiful sound. 

What we learn in this Piano Master class

- The theme must be played with simplicity, without much rubato; it must be cantabile
- A beautiful sound must be searched
-The climax of the theme must be heroic
- It´s an orchestral piece
- Contrast between different characters: heroic, misterioso, agitato, resignative
- Work on a clear pedal.

About Robert Schumann's work

Robert Schumann, Symphonic Studies, op.13, 1/2 The theme of this piece is, in fact, not by Schumann, but Baron von Fricken, an amateur composer and the father of Ernestine von Fricken (Schumann’s fiancee at the time). In 1834 the Baron asked Schumann to look at a set of variations he composed. Schumann, impressed with the theme, used it for his own Symphonic Études.
But he felt that the somber character of the theme was too prevalent in the Baron’s work (a problem Schumann eventually solved by giving his work a triumphant conclusion). Strangely enough, Schumann struggled all his life to find the perfect version of this work. He was not only interested in composing variations with the utmost variety, but variations that united structurally to form a work of symphonic proportions.
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