The first movement of the Schumann + Wieck Symphony, called Le Prélude, counts twelve wood panels measuring 91 cm by 2,13 meters. On every panel is painted a white rose in a different flowering stage. The paintings are united into a single work of art, 11 meters long, where the onlookers can see the entire rose’s life, symbolizing the various phases of a love affair.
This first visual movement is linked with Schumann’s Opus 82, Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a booklet of nine small piano pieces describing a walk in the woods. The fourth piece, Haunted Place, is prefaced with a poem by Frederich Hebbel which gives spirit to the melody and to the entirety of Le Prélude :
Tall as they grow, the flowers here
Are pale, just like death;
Only one in the middle
Stands there in dark red.
It’s color does not come from the sun,
Whose glow never reached it,
It comes from the earth
Which drank human blood.