What a gloriously humid day it is today. Despite the clouds, there is a sense of twitterpation in the air. Children are doffing their jackets and bros are happily slipping into their shorts – even though it is still a bit too chilly for that. Yeppers, you called it – Spring hath sprung. However, fear not! For here in the Síbín we are more than prepared, in fact we have been ready for awhile now.

This week’s album comes from our Classical section (shelves A2 & A3) and features Robert Schumann’s Symphony No.1 in B Flat Major, Opus 38 ‘Spring’:1st movement: Andante un poco maestoso – Allegro molto vivace/ 2nd movement: Larghetto/ 3rd movement: Scherzo (Molto vivace)/ 4th movement: Allegro animato e grazioso.

Schumann, a German composer of the Romantic period, was born in Zwickau in the Kingdom of Saxony in 1810. A gifted youth, he began receiving his musical education and composing on his own around the age of 7. He was also a voracious reader who by the age 16 he had published two novels. His father, a book seller, encouraged his son’s interests, but when he died in 1826 that support stopped. His mother and guardian had more practical ideas in mind and sent him off to Leipzig to study law. This was the condition for him to receive his inheritance.

In 1830, he saw an Italian violinist and his youthful urges came roaring back. He began studying piano again with the aim of becoming a concert pianist. A hand injury put an end to that dream, so he moved on to the study of music theory with the conductor of the Leipzig Opera, Heinrich Dorn. Schumann began writing critiques and essays on pieces and began composing once more. He created the ‘New Journal For Music’ and, much like several of us employees here at Tellus360, felt that – with few exceptions – most of the contemporary ‘pop’ music of the time was lacking and that people should look to past composers for interest and inspiration.

He then went on a tear; constantly writing and publishing for piano and orchestra. In 1840 alone, he wrote over 138 songs. He toured all over central Europe and achieved critical acclaim. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and in his later life he began to have troubles. Tinnitus seemed to have affected him and he also began hearing voices and ‘angelic’ music. The angels shortly turned into demons and he attempted suicide and warned his family to stay away out of fear of hurting them. He never really recovered and while he kept writing, his compositions lacked the vigor of his earlier work. He passed away in 1856 at age 46. His illness has been attributed to everything from a brain tumor, to syphillis, to merury poisoning (used for the treatment of syphillis), possible schizophrenia, and even bipolar disorder. However, Schumann left us with a vast volume of work and immense influence on music.

‘Spring’ was written in early 1841 and debuted March 31st of that year. It is a fun and refreshing piece that is excellently put forward by Josef Krips conducting The London Symphony Orchestra (1958). Light and flowing themes are repeated throughout the movements by different sections of the orchestra as the heaviness in the beginning gives way to airy jovialness by the end; much like the season itself.

So come on in to our cozy space and enjoy the fruits of spring with Spring and a Hendrix gin and tonic with extra lime (suggested by our very own Shannon McNally). Now I see that the sun is out, so I bid you farewell as I head out to channel my inner Schumann….

A big thanks to Franklin and Marshall College for their donation.