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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Robert Schumannís piano cycles : a search for meaning
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Paul McNulty
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2010
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (50pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: During the era of German Romanticism in the early nineteenth-century, there was a huge crossover between the arts. Literature and music inspired one another, resulting in huge bodies of writing about music, in particular instrumental music. Schumann himself wrote extensively about music and musicians. In addition to this, he was greatly influenced by the writing style of his literary contemporaries, most notable Jean Paul Richter and E.T.A. Hoffmann, two of his great literary heroes.
This influence is very evident in his piano music, through the symbolism present in the titles and mottos, and through the analysis of narrative strategies that he adopted from literature, most notable the expression of duality, the use of fragment and digression as a narrative tool, and Witz, the structural threads used to connect the movements within the cycles. This thesis will focus on two of his piano cycles, Papillons, Op.2 and Kreisleriana, Op.16.
Following an analysis of these cycles, this thesis will discuss the relationship that exists between Schumann and the interpreter of his music, a relationship that is both unique and challenging.

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