A secret engagement, a composer as prospective father-in-law and several rival publishing houses – it was against this backdrop that the work was composed. His youthful and passionate love for Ernestine von Fricken was short-lived, but it occasioned Schumann in 1837 to write the “intensely emotional variations” on a theme of her father’s, which were eventually to become the “Orchestral etudes”. Fifteen years later a new edition was published, authorised by Schumann, containing such important changes that we have included both versions. In our revised issue the editor Ernst Herttrich has provided each version with its own preface and an extensive commentary.
- Level of difficulty (Explanation)
- Other titles with this level of difficulty
- Symphonic Etudes - Versions 1837 and 1852 op. 13
- Piano 9 difficult
ABRSM: Piano FRSM (recommended)
The genesis of the Symphonische Etüden is highly complicated and involved several distinct stages. In April 1834 Schumann had met Ernestine von Fricken, who took piano lessons from his own teacher, Friedrich Wieck. By September they were already secretly engaged. In that same month Ernestine’s father, Baron Ignaz Ferdinand von Fricken, sent him a set of variations on a theme … 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
Het is de grote verdienste van Henle om beide versies in één prachtige band uit te geven. De versie van 1852 is in de nieuwe urtext los ingevoegd, wat een vergelijking tussen de etdues (1837) en de variaties (1852) vergemakkelijkt.
Cette nouvelle partition … ajoute, en annexe, les cinq Variations que Schumann avait retirées des deux versions éditées de son vivant et reprises par Clara et Brahms dans la Gesamtausgabe de 1893.