English Blog

Robert Schumann: Papillon OP. 2 1/29/2020

January 29, 2020

What a delight! I learned this piece when I was in a conservatory in Japan. It has been so long and I don’t know why, but suddenly I wanted to play it again. It will be in my program at a concert “Stories in Music” on Saturday February 15 in Pasadena, CA. Schumann’s music is closely connected to literature, and this Papillon is a great example. Papillon represents a masked ball and there are 3 characters playing in Papillon, Wina – angelic love, Walt – poetic soul, and Walt’s twin brother Vult – mordant temperament. Those characters are from Jean Paul’s novel “Flegeljahre (Awkward Age) ” written in 1804-5. Jean Paul was Schumann’s idol, and two great artists share the same tendency, a rapid transformation of mood in their works. And there is always humor! Jean Paul writes “Poetry and love struggling with reality”. I am sure Schumann totally agrees with this statement! Schumann writes “Almost unawares I found myself at the piano, and thus there arose one papillon after another.” Fantasy and imagination.. I have been practicing Papillon for a few weeks and 3 characters are very alive in my playing! I love books and actually I can’t live without books. I feel so close to Robert Schumann for his connection to literature.

Papillon was written between 1829 and 1832. At the beginning Schumann was still a law student, and later he decided to dedicate himself to the arts, literature and music. Papillon (butterfly) as a symbol of freedom?? Please join me at the concert. The program will include J. S. Bach: Toccata from 6th Partita, Schumann: Papillon Op. 2, Ginestera: danzas argentinas, Granados: ochos valses poeticos, and Chopin: Fantasie Op. 49. I will share my insight with pieces during the concert.