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With Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, soprano Elsa Dreisig and pianist Romain Louveau perform one of the most beautiful lied cycles of German Romanticism 

When 18-year-old Robert Schumann met the great poet Heinrich Heine, he had expected a bitter misanthrope. Nothing could have been further from the truth: before him stood a friendly man with an ironic smile on his lips’. That same irony surfaces in Heine’s poetry collection Lyrisches Intermezzo, in which a sombre, versifying knight locks himself up in his room as he pines for a lost love. With a sense of drama, he decides to place his angry old songs’ in a coffin. Carried by giants (the coffin weighing a ton), he lets his great sorrow sink to the bottom of the sea. In the space of a few days, the newly-wed Schumann spun sixteen of Heine’s poems into a lied cycle about the opposing forces of love. Dichterliebe depicts all the romantic clichés with equal eagerness, from the initial butterflies to the bitter pill of rejection. The song cycle was an ode to two women: Schumann’s wife Clara, whose music resonates at the beginning, and soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, for whom the composer intended his songs. Today, internationally renowned soprano Elsa Dreisig follows in their footsteps to immerse listeners in the Sehnsucht of German Romanticism with pianist Romain Louveau. 

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