‘…the melancholy birds of night still flit round me from time to time, yet they can be driven off by music’ – Robert Schumann to Verhuslt, November 4, 1848
In the correspondence of Robert and Clara Schumann the word “melancholy” appears often. Particularly poignant are the vivid descriptions that Robert used to portray his decaying mental state; specifically, the image of the visiting “birds of night” serves as a powerful metaphor. I explore this world of melancholy throughout my composition via nocturnal landscapes that return at various tempi and employing different orchestrations. Melodic lines that appear initially through a kaleidoscopic lens are continuously revisited, expanded, and interrupted by bird “night calls” and furioso passages.