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Voice of God

Tim Souster, 21 April 1983

Beethoven and the Voice of God 
by Wilfrid Mellers.
Faber, 453 pp., £20, February 1983, 9780571117185
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... Mellers simply states, quite rightly, that the work is Schumannesque, romantic in the E.T.A. Hoffman sense, and ‘the closest he ever came to writing “neurotic” music’. This is all fine, but hardly a revelation. The bulk of the writing on this sonata takes the form of blow-by-blow programme-note style description, rather than analysis, and this I ...

The Light Waters of Amnion

Dan Jacobson: Bruno Schulz, 1 July 1999

The Collected Works of Bruno Schulz 
edited by Jerzy Ficowski.
Picador, 582 pp., £50, December 1998, 0 330 34783 7
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... to do so too – plants, clouds, postage stamps, architectural columns, roadways, pieces of cloth. Extra hours, days or months appear in the calendar whenever they are needed; other periods are dismissed out of hand because they are ‘too spacious for their content’. In one episode a new galaxy (‘The Cyclist’) is discovered in the skies; in another we ...

Should a real musician be so tormented with music?

Misha Donat: Robert Schumann and E.T.A. Hoffmann, 15 July 1999

Robert Schumann: Herald of a ‘New Poetic Age’ 
by John Daverio.
Oxford, 618 pp., £30, June 1997, 0 19 509180 9
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The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr 
by E.T.A. Hoffman, translated by Anthea Bell.
Penguin, 350 pp., £7.99, April 1999, 0 14 044631 1
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... Die Gebüsche over the first movement of the Fantasie, but the more cryptic references to extra-musical sources which inform the substance, and sometimes the structure, of Schumann’s music. It is Daverio’s central thesis that Schumann, who once defined music as ‘poetry raised to a higher power’, constantly sought to evoke a literary analogue ...

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