>1. Who wrote it, when?
I'm going with Schumann
>2. Which interpretation do you like the best?
Definitely #2, much more emotion, much less mechanical.
>3. Why or why not does the melody speak to you?
Still easily identifiable, despite the tumultuous accompaniment.
>4. Is melody even that important or necessary nowadays?
Yes, even if it is buried in a harmonic wash, it still should be there.
Compose the melody first, the harmony will follow.
>5. What are your all time favorite melodies?
Elgar - Var. IX 'Nimrod'