Published on Mar 6, 2013
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) – Symphony n°2 in C major opus 61
The Symphony in C major by German composer Robert Schumann was published in 1847 as his Symphony No. 2, Op. 61, although it was the third symphony he had completed, counting the B-flat major symphony published as No. 1 in 1841, and the original version of his D minor symphony of 1841 (later revised and published as No. 4).
Schumann began to sketch the symphony on December 12, 1845, and had a robust draft of the entire work by December 28. He spent most of the next year orchestrating, beginning February 12, 1846. His depression and poor health, including ringing in his ears, prevented him finishing the work until October 19. Publication followed in 1847.
The uplifting tone of the symphony is remarkable in the face of Schumann’s health problems—the work can be seen as a Beethovenian triumph over fate/pessimism. It is written in the traditional four-movement form, and as often in the nineteenth century the Scherzo precedes the Adagio. All four movements are in C major, except the first part of the slow movement (in C minor); the work is thus homotonal: