Schumann’s “Widmung”: A Love Song Adapted by Liszt

In September of 1840, Robert Schumann presented a collection of 26 songs, composed the previous spring, to his beloved Clara as a wedding gift. The cycle, Myrthen, Op. 25, contains intimate musical ciphers and codes which had personal meaning to the couple. Myrtle flowers, referenced in the title, are associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

Based on a poem by Friedrich Rückert, the opening song, Widmung (“Dedication”), begins with the lines,

You my soul, you my heart,
You my rapture, O you my pain,
You my world in which I live…

Set in A-flat major, Widmung begins with gushing, heart-skipping arpeggiating lines in the piano. The melody blossoms with passionate, upward-reaching inflections. The harmony is adorned with sensuous sixths. The song is a joyful encapsulation of rapturous, youthful love.

Franz Liszt transformed Schumann’s intimate love song into a soaring expression of virtuosic bravura. The melody’s first statement in the soprano register is answered by a second tenor statement. The climactic final moments erupt in a dazzling musical fireworks display which traverses the expanse of the keyboard. In Liszt’s hands, the melody takes on a spectacular new boldness and grandeur.

This performance, featuring Evgeny Kissin, was recorded at the 2010 Verbier Festival:


  • Schumann: Myrthen, Op. 25, Widmung, Barbara Bonney, Vladimir Ashkenazy Amazon
  • Schumann/Liszt: Widmung, Evgeny Kissin Amazon

Featured Image: a facsimile of Schumann’s manuscript 

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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