Schumann

Thoughts after a piano lesson on Robert Schumann.


I’ve always dreamt of classical music as water: enduring, patient, filling whatever space it’s given, a balm for the soul to slake its thirst.

Now, for Schumann, I imagine that there existed a field of emotions in his soul. A field lined with thick trees and carved by a thin stream down its center. From afar, it would have passed for the idyllic countryside.

Except that the field was irreparable. A plot of land where weeds festered and brewed in silence, where the grass, no matter how tall or lush it grew, always crumbled at the slightest hint of a breeze. From time to time, the field was met with violent weather. Flash fires from uncanny lightning strikes, clouds of dust settling over the soil, flowers and plants diseased without sunlight. Day and night, year after year, something eventually died until there was nothing left to die.

The stream, however, was crystalline. It never ceased. Even during the winters, when the field was suffocated in snow, the stream would trickle along, sheer and lucent.

There was a slight dip at one point in the stream. The ground curved slightly, just about five centimeters of a gradual, downwards slope, which quickly rose and leveled off to its original flat course. If you plunged your hand into the stream where the dip occurs, stood still, and waited, you’d feel the water rush by like a heartbeat. (Clara, of course).

I imagine that the stream carried everything that Schumann held close to his heart. That, amidst the disorienting field, there was a singular purity, be it pain or love, in which his music existed for the sake of needing, desperately, to exist.