Schumann String Quartet Nº 3, Op. 41 Nº 3 III. Adagio molto
Listen: I am ideally happy. My happiness is a kind of challenge. As I wander along the streets and squares and the paths by the canal, absently sensing the lips of dampness through my worn soles, I carry proudly my ineffable happiness. The centuries will roll by, and schoolboys will yawn over the history of our upheavals: everything will pass, but my happiness, dear, my happiness will remain, in the moist reflection of a street lamp, in the cautious bend of stone steps that descend into the canal’s black waters, in the smiles of a dancing couple, in everything with which God so generously surrounds human loneliness.
The Bostonian composer and organist Arthur Foote (1853-1937), companion to fellow New England luminaries Amy Beach and Edward MacDowell, was well-known in the American musical life of his time but has been largely forgotten since. He is particularly admired for his chamber music, which has been compared favorably to that of Dvorak. Foote, Harvard-educated, was of that generation of 19th century American composers which nurtured continental idioms before the beginnings of an American school after the turn of the century. He contributed several texts on music theory and composition, and was on this side of the Atlantic an important advocate for both Brahms and Wagner.
Brahms Intermezzo in C: Grazioso e giocoso Op. 119 Nº 3
Sviatoslav Richter (live)
Tempo, yeah. But check the manuscript (pictured above).
Whereas Brahms’ bachelor yolo-mottos “Frei aber einsam” and ”Frei aber froh” (F-A-E, F-A-F) descend from an apex to settle in discomfort and relative contentment, respectively, there is a more spiritually optimistic and emotionally ambiguous motive—a rising third plus a rising step—which one frequently finds lurking about. It dominates this Intermezzo from Op. 119, and has precedents in the motet Op. 74 Nº 1 as well as Ein deutsches Requiem.