Camillo Schumann (1872-1946)
There are many composers about whom it is believed, today, that they composed conservatively, or against the taste of their time. In a period in which Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg and their twelve-tone technique had long been in fashion, a Max Bruch was made to feel how conventional his music was: only concerned with the beauty of the melody and sound. It is to be evaluated all the more positively, however, that many of these forgotten (late) romantics remained true to their styles and were extremely effective in their tradition.
Camillo Schumann is one of the most important representatives of these composers, but his works are still largely unknown today. His estate, still completely privately owned, is extraordinarily wide‒ranging and reveals a trea-sure trove of valuable music. Camillo Schumann was born on 10 March 1872 in Königstein, Saxony as the son of the music director Clemens Schumann (1839‒1918). In 1889 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, where he received his fundamental musical education with Carl Reinecke, the music theorist Salomon Jadassohn, the piano teacher Bruno Zwintscher and the organist Paul Homeyer. In 1894/95 Schumann moved to Berlin in order to continue his studies.
He was awarded the title ”Grand Ducal Saxon Music Director and Court Organist“ for his services. In 1911 he became a member of the Gemeinschaftliche Sachverständigenkammer Thüringer Staaten für Werke der Tonkunst (Collective Chamber of Experts of Thuringian States for Works of Music) in Weimar. He was granted a position as instructor in organ and theory at the Brill Conservatory in Eisenach. Camillo Schumann moved to Bad Gottleuba in 1914, in order to devote himself exclusively to composition. The hardships of the war and post‒war period, however, meant increasing economical restrictions, especially since he stood firm by his traditional manner of composing and completely ignored current musical trends, which made it almost impossible to find publishers for his works. In order to make ends meet financially, Schumann continued to take on positions in the area of church music: in Markersbach (1921‒1946) and Langenhennersdorf (1928‒1941); he also performed concerts as organ soloist in Dresden, Pirna and Königstein. The cultural scene experienced truly great moments thanks to his efforts. Camillo Schumann died in Bad Gottleuba on 29 December 1946.
Schumann’s œuvre comprises nearly all musical genres.Over 300 compositions have been proven to exist, most of which are chamber works. There are also piano works, cantatas with organ or orchestra, works for harmonium and an extensive œuvre for the organ. Chamber music, however, dominates his catalogue. He composed 3 piano trios, 5 violin sonatas, 3 cello sonatas, 2 horn sonatas, 2 clarinet sonatas, 2 oboe sonatas, 1 flute sonata and many free compositions for various combinations. Almost all of these works have never been published and exist only in autograph manuscript. His musical language combines the sound world of Brahms with the grand, late‒romantic Liszt School. He wrote piano parts of incredible power and virtuosity, approaching the sounds of Rachmaninoff. His wonderfully individual melodic language makes these works a valuable testimony to a composer who never had his due recognition.
Edition of selected works
- Cello sonata No. 1 in g-Moll op. 59
- Cello sonata No. 2 in c-Moll op. 99
- Clarinet sonata No. 1 B-flat major op. 112
- Clarinet sonata No. 2 E-flat major op. 134
- Horn sonata No. 1 F-major op. 138
- Horn sonata No. 2 D-major WoO
- Polonaise in B-minor for Violin and Pianoforte op. 4