25 pages, folio (c.30 x 23cms), on 13 leaves, the last movement paginated by the composer, 16-stave paper, some stitching holes, later blue cloth folder, gilt border and black-gilt label to cover, [Dresden], [3-16] June 1847, some light staining and spotting
R. Schumann, Werke für Klaviertrio, edited by E. Herrtrich (Munich, 2012). The opening page of the present manuscript is reproduced, but was not otherwise used for the edition: nor apparently was the autograph fair copy ("trotz mehrfacher Anfragen").
This manuscript has not been explored by modern scholarship, and its content, length and dimensions are not accurately recorded in the literature. The only other autograph of the work, Schumann's fair copy for the printer, is currently inaccessible.
This is Schumann's original composing manuscript of his first Piano Trio in D minor, generally regarded as his finest. This is no mere collection of short sketches, although sketches and aborted drafts are also present: it comprises Schumann's first continuous draft ("Skizze") of the whole work, the notes of which are retained, almost complete, in the version played today. It is the immediate product of Schumann's creative impulse, where all the melodies and their developments are laid out throughout, leaving the harmonies and details to be worked out later. There is nothing here of the relatively short slow movement, because that was apparently only composed later. At this stage, Schumann described the work as finished in his Haushaltbuch (Diary) on 16 June 1847: "Finished the Trio -- Joy". Schuman did not make a fair copy until the beginning of September, when perhaps he added the slow movement.
Schumann's D minor Trio Op.63 is a staple of the chamber music repertory and has been recorded many times. Rather than recalling Beethoven's piano trios, the first movement in particular has a rich, restless harmonic quality that looks forward to Brahms. The Scherzo provides a contrast with driving rhythms and powerful accents; the joyous last movement in D major, with its endless, almost Schubertian, flow of Romantic melodies, is arguably the most inspired of all. The work comes from the height of Schumann's career, the year after his Second Symphony Op.61, following a period of several months when he composed nothing new. Schumann composed the Trio in Dresden in June 1847 and it was performed four times in his house that autumn with Clara Schumann at the piano. She performed it again, when Liszt visited their house on 9 June 1848, just before it was published, and her disgust at Liszt's response contributed to the breach between the two composers. The first public performance was at Leipzig on 13 November 1848.
This is a remarkable and revelatory manuscript showing Schumann in the process of creating his music. It shows that he was able to design the whole layout of the music bar-by-bar, including the complete harmonic progressions and main themes, from the outset. Schumann solves the perennial questions for any composer of a large scale work like this--"what to do next?"-- and "how to lead the music forward?" He establishes the proportions of each movement, and the harmony and principal musical shape of practically each bar. This draft can be related to the final version almost throughout: the only sections that are substantially different are the lead-back to the recapitulation of the first movement (about 13 bars) and the codas to the Scherzo and last movement, which were more substantially recomposed. However, Schumann made outline drafts even of the codas, and indicates the end of the first and last movements with terminal flourishes. For the repeats, Schumann sometimes only indicates the bar numbers involved and, if necessary, their transposition a fifth or a fourth higher. What is remarkable is how consistently these details are maintained in the final version: it is as if Schumann had already conceived the whole piece in his mind, but, in the white heat of creation, barely had time to set down the musical essentials.
Schumann began the draft in full score, but the music peters out after some twenty-six bars and the continuation is redrafted in short score. Thereafter he composed on two-stave systems, except for the "Trio" section of the Scherzo which is again in full score. Schumann specifies the instruments only sporadically in the first two movements, but more consistently in the finale, when they are associated with particular musical figurations. Occasionally some bars are left blank, either because they are essentially repeats (as in the second subject of the first movement, numbered 30-34), or because they are part of an alternating sequence, as at bars 397, 399 and 401 of the last movement. However, Schumann is invariably precise about the number of blank bars, and this normally corresponds to the final version. Sometimes additional music is represented by tiny bar-lines, which Schumann marks in the margin, or, in order to indicate inserted passages, placed above a bar-line. The lead-up to the coda to the first movement provides a good example of his methods: he writes the violin part to bar 212, immediately followed by a double-bar and key signature to mark the start of the coda (bar 219); he then adds six tiny bar-lines which grow from the top of the double-bar in a fan shape. In the final version we find that he has indeed inserted six bars' music at this point.
The manuscript affords an insight into Schumann's musical personality in other ways, too. He writes most of the music on two staves, as in a piano score, betraying to some extent the fact that his musical ideas were principally pianistic in origin. Even in the final version, the cello doubles the piano bass line for much of the first movement, though rather less thereafter. Similarly, his short-hand method of indicating the repeats accounts to some extent for the rather literal and whole-scale recapitulation of the opening section in the tonic key, whereas other composers were more inclined to telescope or elaborate this part of the movement once its reappearance in the home key had made its effect. Finally, Schumann is primarily concerned with the design and proportions of quite long and complex movements. This possibly accounts for the fact that there is no sketch here for the relatively short slow movement, which is in a simple ternary form. Indeed there seems to be no record of any such sketch for that movement and it was probably never present in this continuity draft, although ultimately we cannot know that for sure.
The manuscript comprises nine bifolia and single sheets, the music following directly from one to the next:
[pp.1-4] A bifolium containing the opening of the first movement (marked "Allr[o] Nicht schnell, aber mit Leidenschaft"): comprising the exposition and first part of the development ("2ter Theil"), a draft of bars 1-90 (the exposition numbered by the composer 1-53 and the "2ter Theil" 1-37); Schumann wrote the opening sixteen bars in full score and originally continued in full score on the "fourth" page of the bifolium (as was his habit); but he composed only ten more bars, before returning to bar 17 and from then on writing the continuation in short score, some bars containing only a single line,
[pp.5-6] The development of the first movement, a pencil draft of bars 91-124 (numbered by the composer 38-71); together with, on the verso, a more fully-developed ink sketch of the end of the exposition (including the second subject), bars 35-53
[pp.7-10] The end of the first movement, a draft mainly in ink, of bars 125-248 (numbered by the composer 71-106), the recapitulation of the opening theme represented by the cue "[repeat bars] 1-25", the conclusion of the movement marked with a terminal flourish and autograph calculations of bar numbers ("I.53/ II. 106/ III.78/ ... 237")
[pp.11-14] A bifolium, containing the second movement (marked "Lebhaft, doch nicht zu rasch"), an ink draft, mainly in short score, of bars 1-77, leading directly to the "Trio" on the last page of the bifolium, (bars 80-108 notated in full score on four-stave systems); the inner pages of the bifolium contain a draft of the end of the Trio (marked "Trio 2"), and a number of fragmentary sketches for the coda
[pp.15-18] A bifolium containing the opening of the last movement (marked "Mit Feuer"), an ink draft of bars 1-128 (numbered sporadically 1-16, 63 ("H moll" and "Thema"), 85, 112), mainly as a single-line continuity sketch, also including, on the second and third pages, an extended earlier deleted draft, some bars indicated by miniature bar-lines in the top margin, paginated by the composer (1-3)
[pp.19-20] A draft of bars 130-224 (numbered occasionally 105-109), paginated (4-5)
[p.21] A draft of bars 226-239 (numbered sporadically 105, 110-114, 123 in pencil), together with two extended passages deleted, paginated (6), verso blank
[pp.22-23] A draft of bars 240-341 (partly numbered by the composer 124, 147), the recapitulation mainly indicated by cues ("[repeat bars] "1-16"; "17-28 ein Quinte h[ö]her" and "E moll von 63-112 eine Quart h[ö]her"); Schumann then notates the coda in short score, from bars 356 on, marking the end of the movement with a terminal flourish in the middle of the verso; the leaf also contains a later draft of bars 398-450 of the coda and calculations regarding the proportions of the movement in ink ("I.112/ II 137/ [deleted]/ III. 169.../413"), unpaginated
[pp.24-25] A single leaf containing preliminary drafts for the last movement, relating to bars 286ff., and a section in G major (cf. bar 286) and E minor (cf. bar 302), together with calculations of the proportions of the movement ("I 112./II. 137/ I. 112/ 8...362"), and other notes ("1-112 Quart tiefer"), paginated by the composer (6-7)
The few other known autograph sources for the Trio are mostly inaccessible: 1) the autograph fair copy for the copyist (Stichvorlage), which was not used for the latest Urtext edition (2012); 2) a single autograph sketchleaf for the first movement, in a private collection; 3) three separate single sketchleaves, in libraries in Bonn and Zwickau, containing fragmentary material for the second movement, and sketches mainly for other works (Genoveva and the Piano Trio Op.80). There do not appear to be any surviving sketches for the slow movement, nor any other drafts for the last movement. No manuscripts or proofs relating to the first edition published in 1848 are recorded.
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