Eusebius and Florestan, Pierrot and Harlequin
Keywords:Robert Schumann, violin, piano, music, mental health, costume, pandemic, isolation, video, photography, psychology, psyche, collaboration, composition, internal, external
This video and article are inspired by Robert Schumann’s use of characterization in his music and writings, and the affinities of these sometimes kaleidoscopic and multiple musical and critical perspectives with theatre, fragmentary scenographies, and costume. Drawing on the traits of Schumann’s own characters Florestan, Euesbius, Master Raro, as well as other personas such as Harlequin and Pierrot, I have aimed, in my audiovisual collage and performance of a hypothetical 4th movement to Schumann’s 1851 Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in A minor (Op. 105), to create a mediation between disparate aspects of the music, envisioned as personality fragments scattered in the landscape of the piece. The video itself is a meditation on, and an outcome of the realities of the pandemic, and the isolation that intruded in such a sustained manner on my personal and professional life. The video is an impromptu assemblage of pre-pandemic footage and photography combined to create a collective virtual chamber music experience representing an internal world haunted by dissonant multiple characters. In some ways, I echo in performance certain suggestive strains of Schumann’s own creative imagination and his personifications, both musically and in his critical writings, of the characters Florestan and Eusebius whom he sought to amalgamate in the figure of Master Raro.
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