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Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish". Analysis by Gerard Schwarz (part 4)

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Video transcript

- The fourth movement is the solemn ceremony. When Clara and Robert went to the Cologne Cathedral, there was someone becoming a cardinal, and it was a great ceremony, and they witnessed this ceremony, and that ceremony was the inspiration for this incredible chorale, the solemn chorale, written for the trombones and horns. The trombone part goes very high, played almost always on the alto trombone. The alto trombone is used, the tenor trombone, the bass trombone. They have different sounds, the alto being a little smaller, medium and large. The bell size of the instrument changes. The bore size, in other words, the pipe that they play into changes. The size of the mouthpiece changes from smaller to bigger. These days, we usually use two tenors and a bass, but when we play music like this, which is written for an alto trombone with a little brighter and smaller sound, the solo trombone player almost always will play an alto trombone. ("Symphony No. 3" by Robert Schumann) The whole movement is based on this chorale theme, which actually will come back again in the last movement. After the initial statement by the trombones and horns, you'll hear it played by the violins, and then eventually, it goes into a faster section, which sounds as if it were the same melody but just in a more condensed way. It isn't quite, but it is similar, and it really gives a nice variety to this chorale. ("Symphony No. 3" by Robert Schumann) Towards the end of the movement, there's this climactic brass fanfare led by the trumpets and also by the woodwinds. It's a beautiful moment where the woodwinds and brass have this fanfare, and you can see the color change, so you have woodwinds and brass, let's call that a bronze color, loud. And then the same chord is played by the strings, let's call it dark brown, and it has this beautiful, soft warm sound. And then this fanfare comes in even louder, and again, the response to it is this beautiful dark brown of the strings, and it ends in a very poignant way. ("Symphony No. 3" by Robert Schumann)