Schumann : Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 “Spring”

Schumann : Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 “Spring”
Ernest Ansermet (Conductor)
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 (“Spring”) was the first symphonic work composed by Robert Schumann. Although Schumann made some “symphonic attempts” in the autumn of 1840 soon after he married his beloved Clara Wieck, he did not compose his First Symphony until early 1841. Schumann sketched the symphony in four days from 23 January to 26 January and completed the orchestration by 20 February. The premiere took place under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn on 31 March 1841 in Leipzig. The symphony was warmly received. Until Schumann composed this symphony, he was largely known for his works for the piano and for voice. Clara encouraged him to write symphonic music. The title of “Spring Symphony” was bestowed upon it, according to Clara’s diary, because of the Spring poems of Adolph Boettger. However, Schumann himself said he was merely inspired by his Liebesfrühling (spring of love). The last movement of the symphony also uses the final theme of Kreisleriana, and therefore recalls the romantic and fantastic inspiration of this piano composition.

The symphony has four movements. They are marked:

  1. Andante un poco maestoso – Allegro molto vivace (B flat major)
  2. Larghetto (E flat major)
  3. Scherzo: Molto vivace – Trio I: Molto piu vivace – Trio II (G minor)
  4. Allegro animato e grazioso (B flat major)

The orchestration is for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns (2 in F, E-flat, and D, 2 in B-flat), 2 trumpets, 3 trombonestimpanitriangle and strings. Schumann especially expanded the use of timpani in this revolutionary piece.[1] Schumann made some revisions until the definitive full-score of the symphony was published in 1853

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