Although Schumann’s first attempts at composing for this supreme form of chamber music in 1838/39 were only fragments, the three String Quartets op. 41 in a minor, F major and A major were written in one go in June/July 1842. At the first private performances the audience was enthusiastic and it was Mendelssohn’s praise in particular that occasioned Schumann to dedicate the new works to him. The composer wrote to his publisher in an appropriately confident manner: “Be assured, I have spared no pains in creating something very decent, indeed I sometimes think it is my best”. As is generally known, today Schumann’s Opus 41 forms part of the core repertoire for quartet players.
- String Quartet a minor op. 41 Nr. 1
- String Quartet F major op. 41 Nr. 2
- String Quartet A major op. 41 Nr. 3
Although Robert Schumann (1810 – 56) had been warmly encouraged by Franz Liszt, in a letter of 5 June 1839, to write “a few chamber works, trios, quintets or septets” after the many piano pieces he had composed, it took another three years before he turned his attention to chamber music (as cited in Wolfgang Seibold, Robert und Clara Schumann in ihren Beziehungen zu … 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
Sämtliche vorgestellten Ausgaben sind in der vom Henle-Verlag gewohnten sorgfältigen Weise in feinem Druckbild und praktikabler Anordnung hergestellt. Da es sich bei allen Werken um solche handelt, die nicht nur den ausübenden Profi-Musiker ansprechen, sondern auch von geschulten Laien spielbar sind, stellen sie für jeden Notenschrank einen echten Gewinn dar!
Scholarly research has made this edition as accurate as possible. Henle, true to from, have provided beautifully printed parts with sensible page turns and a separate full score.