Erst- und Frühdrucke
The Brahms-Institut an der Musikhochschule Lübeck presented as of Nov. 8, 2013 a special exhibition on the first and early editions of Robert Schumann. In the three-part series »Prisma Schumann«, the show at Villa Brahms presented a representative selection of decorative title pages.
Robert Schumann (1810–1856) was only 21 when his first composition, the Abegg-Variationen für Klavier op. 1, was published in November 1831. 147 works with opus numbers were to follow. Op. 136–148 were published by the composer’s estate (with the help of Johannes Brahms) and appeared posthumously between 1857 and 1864. A total of 25 music publishers were involved in publishing his oeuvre. Three Leipzig publishers printed around half of Schumann’s compositions: Breitkopf & Härtel (30), Friedrich Whistling (25), and Friedrich Kistner (17).
Schumann thought the presentation of a new work via the title page was decisive. It is »the portal through which the piece of music leaves the private space to its place in public. Conversely, the reader-musician first sees the title page, before reaching the work text« (Bernhard R. Appel). The title page was not only intended to attract the attention of potential buyers, but also sought to achieve a synesthesia of eye and ear. Schumann was convinced that the inner essence of the composition should be expressed by the title page.
Artists of title pages provided vignettes, arabesques, and marginal ornamentation, while engravers and lithographers transferred these designs to print. The most important artists included Ludwig Richter, Theodor Mintrop, close to the Düsseldorf school of painting, and lithographer Friedrich Krätzschmer, who illustrated the title pages of 36 works by Schumann.
The show presented the title pages of different versions, print runs, or editions of the same work. The exhibition was part of the series »Prisma Schumann«, which focused on the project »Schumann digital«, funded by the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. The central components could be heard at four listening stations. As of November 13 a small exhibition of watercolors by Augustusburg painter Karsten Mittag was on view in the wintergarten: paintings inspired by Schumann’s music.