Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Analyzing Robert Schumann's Julius Caesar Overture, Op.128

With this post, I wanted to show a specific way in which Shakespeare's works have inspired musicians.  For instance, Robert Schumann was inspired by Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, when he composed his overture, "Op. 128."  While the connection between the overture and the play may be hard to see, Christopher Wilson states in the following in his book Shakespeare and Music:  "I cannot see any connection between this work and Shakespeare's play, the overture having quite a happy ending; but perhaps it represents an early phrase in Caesar's life before he met too many "lean and hungry" men" (48-49). Wilson's observation shows the universality of Shakespeare's work.  While Shakespeare might have had specific meanings in mind while writing his plays, whether it be on the stage or in music, they are open to interpretation.

Here is a video of the overture being performed:

Wilson, Christopher. Shakespeare and Music. New York: Da Capo, 1977. Print.