In 1849 Schumann published six Impromptus for piano four-hands with the title “Bilder aus Osten”. As can be seen from the preface of the first edition, Schumann was inspired by the “Maqama” – a genre of Arab rhymed prose – by the medieval poet Hariri in the translation by Friedrich Rückert. Schumann could not banish the protagonist in the Maqama, Abu Said, whom he likened to the German character Till Eulenspiegel from his thoughts whilst he was writing the works. This explains the “foreign character“ of the pieces. Even 150 years later, the “Pictures from the East” with their nuanced use of a wide range of sound possibilities in the interplay of the four hands, have lost none of their charm.
- Pictures from the East op. 66
The important role attributed by Robert Schumann (1810 – 56) to four-hand piano playing already emerges in a diary entry of 1828: “Musical duets easily become duets of the heart, and the discourse and language of related souls; this is when they are of the greatest value. Nothing can surpass four-hand piano playing as the loveliest of first-time delights” (Robert … 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
Die neue Henle Urtext-Ausgabe präsentiert den Notentext im bequemen Querformat mit Rechts-links-Aufteilung von Primo- und Secondo-Part sowie einer ebenso präzisen wie prägnanten Notengrafik.
Henle's nieuwe uitgave is prachtig verzorgd en is zeer overzichtelijk, wat het samenspel bijzonder ten goede komt. Andreas Groethuysen verzorgde de vingerzetting, als altijd met aandacht voor de speciale eisen van het vierhandig pianospel.