"Do You Remember When ... ?"


"I am sitting in a café on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston; outside, noisy streetcars lumber along; inside, university students on their way to or from summer-term classes are sipping lattés and munching on scones; rock music pours (fortunately, not too loudly) from speakers overhead; and (nearly) everyone is speaking English. So I feel compelled to ask: Is this the place to recall Schumann's life? to ponder his writings? and above all, to think about his music? Since I cannot presume to answer for everyone, I will respond for myself: yes to the first question, because the tragic end of Schumann's life calls to mind the devastation wrought by the plagues of the past and quickens my desire that cures will be found for the plagues of the present; yes to the second, because Schumann's writings remind me that the present is fraught with imperfections, but that precisely these imperfections may hold out the greatest promise for the future; and yes to the third, because Schumann's music may just yet inspire a sense for poetry in a largely unpoetic age."

- John Daverio

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