Chapter 5 Reaching towards Heaven: An Examination of Robert Schumann’s Views about Religion in his Requiem in D-Flat Major, Op. 148

In: Grief, Identity, and the Arts
Author:
Owen Hansen
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Abstract

Despite all the research that has been done about Robert Schumann’s compositions, not much is known about him concerning the subjects of sacred music and the role religion played in his own personal life. While Schumann’s compositional output was directed more towards secular works, he did create a handful of sacred pieces that showcased his already lauded treatment of meshing text and music into a harmonious and self-reflective product. One of the final published compositions Schumann wrote at the end of his life was the Requiem Mass in D-Flat Major. In examining the small selection of sacred compositions that he created, I feel that the Requiem Mass provides a glimpse into his personal feelings concerning religion, how he viewed the subject of death, and how one can ask for forgiveness and repentance. This chapter will examine his motivations for why he wrote the piece, how he interpreted the liturgy, and finally analyze his musical treatment of the text in conveying his message of redemption and forgiveness.

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Grief, Identity, and the Arts

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Expressions of Grief

Series:  Death in History, Culture, and Society, Volume: 1

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