Schumann kept coming back to variation form. He often wrote his own variations in contrast to those on popular (operatic) themes, with which piano virtuosi of the time flooded the market. The “Impromptus” were written with the desire that they “should be seen to be variations of a new form” – he even skilfully joined two themes together. Although Franz Liszt had been very positive about them, Schumann later again made a great many changes to his Opus 5. The “Impromptus” are now appearing – in both versions – in our catalogue for the first time, as always with an informative accompanying text.
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Though Robert Schumann may be generally regarded as the “inventor” of the romantic character piece, he also engaged very intensively with the classical forms of piano music, especially in his early years. This is particularly true for the sonata and variation genres. Of his first twenty-three works, all for piano, only half fit the profile of the character piece. By … more
About the composer
Connected with his oeuvre is the term he coined, Poetic Music, with which he strove for a fusion of literature and music, a paradigm particularly seen in his lyric piano pieces prior to 1839. Thereafter he devoted himself to other genres (song, symphony, chamber music, among others).
|1810||Born in Zwickau on June 8, the son of a bookdealer.|
|from 1828||Studies law in Leipzig, piano with Friedrich Wieck. Decision to pursue a career in music.|
|1830–39||He exclusively composes piano works, mostly cycles, including “Papillons,” Op. 2 (1829–32); “Carnaval,” Op 9 (1834/35); “Davidsbündlertänze,” Op. 6 (1837); “Kinderszenen” (“Scenes from Childhood”), Op. 15 (1837/38); “Kreisleriana,” Op. 16 (1838); “Noveletten,” Op. 21 (1838).|
|1832||A paralysis of a finger in his right hand makes a career as a pianist impossible. Founding in 1833 of the fantasy brotherhood the “Davidsbund” (“League of David”).|
|1835–44||Editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal of Music).|
|1840||Marriage to Clara Wieck; 138 songs, including the Eichendorff Liederkreis, Op. 39; the song cycle “Dichterliebe,” Op. 48|
|1841||Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major (“Spring” Symphony), Op. 38, and Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120.|
|1842||Three string quartets, Op. 41; further chamber music.|
|1843||Teacher of composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Oratorio “Paradise and the Peri,” Op. 50.|
|1845||He settles in Dresden. Journey to Russia.|
|1845||Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61.|
|1850||City music director in Düsseldorf. Premiere in Leipzig of his opera “Genoveva,” Op. 81. Symphony in E-flat major (“Rhenish”), Op. 97; Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.|
|1853||Beginning of his friendship with Brahms. Completion of the Scenes from Faust. Violin Concerto in D minor for Joseph Joachim.|
|1854||Suicide attempt and admission to the psychiatric institution in Endenich, near Bonn.|
|1856||Death in Endenich on July 29.|
About the authors
Robert Schumann, nel 1833, scriveva; “Dedico a Bach molto tempo. Da qui l’ispirazione per gli Impromptus: una nuova forma di variazione”. La nuova edizione Henle presenta sia la prima versione, del 1833, sia quella del 1850, come inserto allegato.