I have often accompanied Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben as a pianist at Lieder evenings, and the dramaturgy of the cycle up to its abrupt and lethal ending fascinates me still. But why arrange the work for orchestra, now, 165 years after it was written? In “Frauenliebe“, in contrast to Schumann's “Myrten“ or “Liederkreis“, the piano part is not arranged in a particularly “pianistic“ way, but contains tonal colours and accents which in some ways might be better realised by an orchestra – in any case, I have always “heard“ the orchestra while performing the work.
The idea was to give Schumann's work the full tonal spectrum of the orchestra, paying strict attention to the original and without changing a note – with the question of how Schumann himself might have orchestrated the piece always at the front of my mind. Some adaptations had to be made, of course – the orchestra has no pedal, which meant that some notes (mostly in the bass) had to be extended, or longer held chords in the piano part had to be shortened to avoid distracting dissonances.
The orchestral version allows both concert organisers and performers the possibility of presenting Frauenliebe und Leben to a new audience as part of an orchestral concert.