Waldszenen op.82 
composed 1848/1849 - dedicated to Miss Annette Preusser zugeeignet
Jäger auf der Lauer
Einsame Blumen
Verrufene Stelle
Freundliche Landschaft
Vogel als Prophet
“You receive here the Waldszenen [Forest Scenes], a long work, much cherished by me. May it bring you profit, and if not actually a whole forest, then it will at least add a little tree to a new business.” Schumann wrote these words to his publisher Bartholf Senff in Leipzig on October 8, 1850. He had composeded this cycle in Dresden during the time of the Revolution of 1848. It represented nothing less than an attempt through music to influence the development of man into a learned, independent, and self-sufficient individual; an internal revolution of education through music which was not to be limited solely to pianists. The Waldszenen, op. 82, are a collection of nine highly differentiated, subtle pieces, to each of which the composer originally appended a literary motto, though the Friedrich Hebbel quote would be the only one to be published.

The original motto for “Eintritt” (“Entrance”), No. 1:
“We travel down the dew-pearled path/Through tall grass, through sweet-smelling moss/Into the very lap of the thicket.”  Gustav Pfarrius

The motto for “Verrufene Stelle” (“Condemned Places”), No. 4:
“The flowers, for all their tall growth,
Are pale here, like Death; 
Only one in the middle stands there in dark red.
Its color comes not from the sun,
Which never shone down upon it,
It has it from the Earth,
And it drank human blood.” Friedrich Hebbel

The motto for “Vogel als Prophet” (“Bird as Prophet”), No. 7:
“Take good care, be wakeful and alert.” Joseph von Eichendorff

The motto for “Abschied” (“Farewell”), No. 9:
“Quietly the shadow steals further,
The evening breeze wafts through the valley,
Far peaks gladly greet, 
The last rays of the sun.”  Gustav Pfarrius

Robert Schumann was attempting to create an expressive language through simple means. The first piece, “Eintritt” (“Entrance”), is characterized by a simple rhythmic model, but also finely-realized voice-leading that reflects the “travel down the dew-pearled path.” Each single number receives its own inimitable character through different creative means: like the simple counterpoint by which the dissonances are emphasized in “Einsamen Blumen” (“Lonely Flowers”), or the mysteriously quiet, French overture like rhythms of “Verrufene Stelle” (“Condemned Places”).


Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber