A Review of Gerald Moore’s Poet’s Love: The Songs and Cycles of Schumann

This book shall be invaluable to me and any male or female singer who is planning on doing an entire Dichterliebe or any Schumann song cycle to complete one of their life-long goals. I also loved reading through The Schubert Song Cycles with thoughts on performance by the same author. The author gives the reader a sense of what the book is about right in the preface. He says that he mainly attempts to talk about questions of ensemble between the singer and pianist; mood, tempi, rhythm, color, and feeling. I’m a lover of Schumann’s entire output and I especially love Gerald Moore’s artistry. I am anxious to see just how valuable this book will be to me over the course of my life. I plan on buying this book. I have sung Liederkreis Op. 39 and I enjoyed skimming through the pages of the songs I particularly delighted in singing. This book is easy to read because there are only a few pages dedicated to each song, and the format is pretty much the same for every song. The translation of the poem under the song title is especially elegant. In the analysis of the song Mondnacht: Moore immediately launches into the symbolism of the music. It was very informative and could indeed enhance the performance for a singer. This book is good because it gives the performer something to think about while they are not singing and the piano is playing.  This is important because what the singer is thinking is represented on the face and the audience sees the face.  Moore talks in language that a pianist might understand better than a singer. Moore emphasizes key signature agreeing with poetry and demonstrates Schumann’s attention to words and their importance. Moore is a supporter of rubato and any pianist who loves to play lieder would be wise to read this book. Singers would benefit from pianists who admire or adhere to Moore’s style of playing. He says rubato is “subject to good taste and form,” with which I particularly agreed. In terms of teaching, I am especially anxious to use this book when I give selections of Frauenliebe und Leben to female singers to study and live with. This book is mainly for performers and it should be used liberally in that regard.