2. 23 November 1966 (Schumann and Chopin; Carnaval as Clara-music; Clärchen-Theme)
Dear Mr. Brown,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. Yes, I got the Schumann catalogue pieces safely – I am much obliged to you – and noted from the envelope that you were writing again. I’m very puzzled by that Romanza in F minor, - I can't even read the notes with any certainty, let alone any possible cipher, and it’s not very easy to date either (c. 1834?); would you like it back in due course, or may I keep it for the archives?
Thank you too for the second waltz; I don't think Schumann can have it in mind when he wrote his variations. (though I dare say Chopin might have had this sort of writing in mind – I can hear Op. 9 in one or two Chopin waltzes). But it's very interesting and good to have. Something Schumann did have in mind, though, is a point which may interest you. It seems Likely to me that Carnaval began as a Clara-inspiration; hence the presence of her theme, in the form identified by Roger Fiske in his MT article in ’64 (as e.g. in the first few bars). The idea of the Sehnsucht walzer would be “Sehnsucht nach Clara”, I suppose, as in the F sharp minor sonata. One of his pet names for her at this time was “Clärchen“, so it occurred to me at the dolce parts of the Egmontoverture, since he was Clärchens lover in the play. This, I fancied, is just the kind of situation and symbolism that would appeal to Schumann; he personified music in these terms habitually (cf Hermann and Dorothea, where the ‘feminine’ second subject is marked dolce – perhaps he thought of himself and Beethoven as among the lesser men who weren't above writing that direction!)
Anyhow, there ought in theory to be a possible connection between a theme in Beethoven fancied as meaning Clärchen and a theme in Carnaval fancied as meaning Clara. And we find
which looks rather compelling to me. What do you think?
Yes, certainly I’ll send you anything in Schneider – is it only manuscripts you are interested in, and not for example the enclosed snippet from the only catalogue I happen to have to hand at the moment.
It’s a shame you’re not keener on Brown numbers; they seem a very good set to me.