Schumann Symphony n.1 “Spring” – 1st mov. [analysis]

Last updated Jan 30, 2024 | Published on Nov 19, 2020

Winner of a fellowship at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Mr. Griglio’s conducting has been praised for his “energy” and “fine details”. Mr. Griglio took part in the first world recording of music by composer Irwin Bazelon and conducted several world premieres like "The song of Eddie", by Harold Farberman, a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. Principal Conductor of International Opera Theater Philadelphia for four years, Mr.Griglio is also active as a composer. His first opera, Camille Claudel, debuted in 2013 to a great success of audience and critics. Mr. Griglio is presently working on an opera on Caravaggio and Music Director of Opera Odyssey.
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Table of contents

Introduction

Schumann began writing the first ideas for his first Symphony in January 1841, precisely from 23 to 26. It seems that he completed the work entirely by the end of the following month.

On March 31st of the same year, the symphony was premiered under the baton of none other than Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig, during a benefit concert for the Gewandhaus Orchestra. The same concert marked the return to the stage of Clara Schumann, who after her marriage to Schumann had had to temporarily put on hold her concert career. 

The great success of her return to the stage overshadowed Schumann’s First Symphony, which was only one of the works in the program.

Schumann revised his work several times, so much so that the final version of the work dates back to 1853.

Scheherazade by Édouard Frédéric Wilhelm Richter (1844-1913)

Clara Schumann in 1853

Schumann Symphony n.1 “Spring”: an analysis of the 1st movement

Exposition

Andante un poco maestoso

In case you don’t have it at hand, here’s a quick link to the score.

Here’s an interesting fact: the famous opening figure with horns and trumpets was written this way

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Notes

Cover image by Lucas Craig from Pexels

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Gianmaria Griglio is an intelligent, exceptional musician. There is no question about his conducting abilities: he has exceptionally clear baton technique that allows him to articulate whatever decisions he has made about the music.

Harold Farberman

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