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Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart for voice and piano Op.135

Robert Schumann (b. 1810 - d. 1856)

Ruby Hughes (photo credit: Sim Canetty Clarke)

Ruby Hughes (photo credit: Sim Canetty Clarke)

Composer
Robert Schumann (b. 1810 - d. 1856)
Composition Year
1852
Work Movements
1. Abschied von Frankreich
2. Nach der Geburt ihres Sohnes
3. An die Königin Elisabeth
4. Abschied von der Welt
5. Gebet
Artists
Julius Drake [piano], Ruby Hughes [mezzo-soprano]

Programme Note Writer:
© Ian Fox

Mary Stuart was the daughter of James V of Scotland and inherited the Scottish throne when only 6 days old in 1542. Her French mother took her to France where she later married King Francis II who also died young, leaving her a widow at sixteen-years-old. She returned to Scotland where she married her cousin the Earl of Darnley and their son later became James I in succession to Elizabeth. When Darnley was assassinated and Mary was suspected of complicity, the Scottish lords turned against her and she fled to England, where she asked her cousin Queen Elizabeth I for protection. Elizabeth, fearing Mary might try to claim her throne, had her incarcerated in 1568. She was held prisoner for many years and was then tried on a trumped up writ of treason, being beheaded on February 8th, 1587. The tragic tale has attracted a number of composers with some fifteen operas having been written on the topic.

Schumann composed these, his last set of songs, at the end of 1852. His mental stability was becoming erratic and he claimed to hear music given to him by angels. At the start of 1854 he tried to drown himself, spending his final years in an asylum. The poems are said to have been written by Mary Queen of Scots as she awaited her fate and make a poignant reflection on his own deteriorating state of mind at the time. In his diary at the time of composition he notes: I am going away and later save me.  The texts were translated into German verse by Gisbert von Vincke and speak movingly of departure and farewell, echoing Schumann’s fears for himself. The music is sparse and pared back almost to simplicity as if the composer was seeking to purify his vision.

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Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart for voice and piano Op.135

Composer: Robert Schumann (b. 1810 - d. 1856)
Performance date: Tuesday 1st July 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Robert Schumann (b. 1810 - d. 1856)
Work Title Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart for voice and piano Op.135
Composition Year 1852
Work Movements 1. Abschied von Frankreich
2. Nach der Geburt ihres Sohnes
3. An die Königin Elisabeth
4. Abschied von der Welt
5. Gebet
Artist(s) Julius Drake [piano], Ruby Hughes [mezzo-soprano]
Performance Date Tuesday 1st July 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Recital Series
Duration 00:10:14
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation S-solo, pf
Programme Note Writer © Ian Fox

Mary Stuart was the daughter of James V of Scotland and inherited the Scottish throne when only 6 days old in 1542. Her French mother took her to France where she later married King Francis II who also died young, leaving her a widow at sixteen-years-old. She returned to Scotland where she married her cousin the Earl of Darnley and their son later became James I in succession to Elizabeth. When Darnley was assassinated and Mary was suspected of complicity, the Scottish lords turned against her and she fled to England, where she asked her cousin Queen Elizabeth I for protection. Elizabeth, fearing Mary might try to claim her throne, had her incarcerated in 1568. She was held prisoner for many years and was then tried on a trumped up writ of treason, being beheaded on February 8th, 1587. The tragic tale has attracted a number of composers with some fifteen operas having been written on the topic.

Schumann composed these, his last set of songs, at the end of 1852. His mental stability was becoming erratic and he claimed to hear music given to him by angels. At the start of 1854 he tried to drown himself, spending his final years in an asylum. The poems are said to have been written by Mary Queen of Scots as she awaited her fate and make a poignant reflection on his own deteriorating state of mind at the time. In his diary at the time of composition he notes: I am going away and later save me.  The texts were translated into German verse by Gisbert von Vincke and speak movingly of departure and farewell, echoing Schumann’s fears for himself. The music is sparse and pared back almost to simplicity as if the composer was seeking to purify his vision.