"Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan" ("Now you have caused me pain for the first time") is the eighth and final song in Robert Schumann's Frauenliebe Und Leben song cycle, based upon a poem cycle by Adelbert con Chamisso, which follows the stages of love as told by the woman—the narrator. Unique from the previous seven songs in both content and musicality, this song mourns the loss of the woman in the poem’s husband. Schumann uses techniques such as tonal unclarity, dynamics, tempo markings, and a lack of cadences in order to connect the music to Chamisso's words, expressing the somber mood of the poem. Each of the three sections in the song capture a different part of the woman’s feelings—initial sadness, emptiness, and finally, reminiscence—and are accompanied with different harmonies, dynamics, and tempos accordingly. A piano coda in the reminiscent section repeats melodic material from song one in the cycle, bringing the whole cycle full-circle. The unification of the words and music presents a more persuasive and expressive interpretation of the woman’s feelings in the poem from beginning to end, making this song the most important in the cycle.
"Schumann’s Frauenliebe Und Leben: An analysis of “Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan”,"
Black & Gold:
Available at: https://openworks.wooster.edu/blackandgold/vol3/iss1/1
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