Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Nationality: German
Born: June 8, 1810, Zwickau, Saxony Died: July 29, 1856, Endenich, near Bonn (age 46)

Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 (for clarinet and piano)

(for clarinet and piano)
3:09 I. Zart und mit Ausdruck
3:24 II. Lebhaft, leicht
4:12 III. Rasch und mit Feuer
Duration: 11 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1849 (age 38-39)
Published: 1849, Kassel: Luckhardt (age 38-39)
6 recordings, 12 videos
autoopen autoplay
3:16
Martin Fröst, Jonathan Biss
I. Zart und mit Ausdruck
3:11
Martin Fröst, Jonathan Biss
II. Lebhaft, leicht
4:18
Martin Fröst, Jonathan Biss
III. Rasch und mit Feuer
2:58
Todd Levy, Elena Abend
I. Zart und mit Ausdruck
3:47
Todd Levy, Elena Abend
II. Lebhaft, leicht
4:30
Todd Levy, Elena Abend
III. Rasch und mit Feuer
3:14
Maksim Shtrykov, Alina Kiryayeva
I. Zart und mit Ausdruck
3:15
Maksim Shtrykov, Alina Kiryayeva
II. Lebhaft, leicht
3:48
Maksim Shtrykov, Alina Kiryayeva
III. Rasch und mit Feuer
10:31
Schwarzberg (violin), Argerich
10:59
Meyer, Lonquich
9:31
Maisky, Argerich
From Kai Christiansen

Robert Schumann, 1810-1856
Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 for clarinet (or cello) and piano, 1849

The music of Robert Schuman is full of contrasts on many levels. He wrote massive, complex works for orchestra, chamber music and piano on one hand, and then intimate character pieces and art songs on the other, where, even in miniature proportions, he juxtaposed contrasts of mood and motion with wonderful spontaneity. Schumann's penchant for favoring expression over "textbook" form emphasizes the romantic credo of personal subjectivity of which he was a prime innovator. Indeed, a tendency for "flights of fancy" finds Schuman frequently using the term "Fantasiestücke" or fantasy pieces suggesting short, free-form character studies almost as "in the moment" improvisations.

Schumann composed the three Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 swiftly over just a few days in 1849. Originally for clarinet and piano, he made an arrangement for cello and piano, the version more often heard in performance. Although the title suggests a collection of individual pieces, the three parts seem to form a unified whole as Schumann characteristically joins them in subtle ways using tonality and motive. Still, contrast is primary both between the pieces and, within each piece, itself a little three-part form enclosing a nested duality. The first piece marked "tenderly, with expression" is lyrical and melancholy but its primary minor key eventually brightens into a major tonality. The second piece maintains the new key with a more upbeat playfulness, a sort of nimble intermezzo with Schumann's title "lively and light". A trajectory from inward reflection to outward projection culminates in the third piece that is "quick with fire" with impetuous outbursts contrasting with lyrical poise. These vivid instrumental songs evoke Mendelsohn's famous phrase that music is more specific than words.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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