Abstract

Schumann's music took its place alongside that of many other nineteenth-century composers in the lexicon of silent-film accompaniment. Evidence of early-twentieth-century scoring practices indicates that “Träumerei” quickly proved to be an especially popular choice for scenes of pathos and romance. This appropriation is viewed in the context of the piece's general reception history and the tradition of its concert performance in isolation from the rest of op. 15 (and in any number of instrumental arrangements) that had come to a peak at this time. The assumption of “Träumerei” into the world of film is explored with reference to the aesthetics and changing cultural economies of Schumann's own compositional activities, the nineteenth-century Bieder-meier Hausmusik tradition, and the “child” topos. The emergence of a “Träumerei” protocol in film scoring is uncovered in an examination of its continued appearance in animated and live-action sound cinema from the 1930s to the present day. The risks of semantic impoverishment of the music through clichéd film usage are assessed.

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