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Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish". Analysis by Gerard Schwarz (part 3)

Video transcript

- The third movement is a gorgeous, slow movement. It's a song. It's lyrical. It's beautiful. It's so typical of Schumann's ability to write an absolutely gorgeous melody. It's played by the clarinets and bassoons. It's accompanied by the violas. And even though the music is slow, it keeps it flowing, not dissimilar from the Brook movement of the Beethoven 6th. So you have, you don't even notice that the violas are playing these little notes. But it gives a feeling of forward motion, even though it's a very beautiful, soft song that the clarinets and bassoons sing. (graceful orchestral music) When this beautiful theme comes to an end, there's this passage of rising four notes in the violins, which is kind of a response to that. (graceful orchestral music) And eventually, Schumann combines that four-note passage with the melody of the clarinets. (graceful orchestral music) There is a second theme group, which is, again, like a little chorale. This time the chorale is played by bassoons and violas. We still have that undulating passage. This time the cellos do it. First the solo cello, and later the whole cello section. (lush orchestral music) We repeat the same material of those four ascending notes in the violin. And we bring the clarinet theme back in again. And the chorale theme comes back in. I mean, it's very economical, in the sense that there are basically three ideas. But the way he develops those ideas is absolutely genius and glorious. (languid orchestral music)