Schumann’s turbulent love-affair with the barely eighteen-year-old Ernestine von Fricken, though strong enough to lead to a secret engagement, lasted only a few months. Nevertheless, it managed to give rise to one of his most frequently played compositions: Carnaval. Some of these twenty-one character pieces are named after figures from the commedia dell’arte, others after such fictitious creations as Florestan and Eusebius, in which Schumann acknowledges his own split personality. The mysterious way that these figures relate to specific people in Schumann’s surroundings – and the deeper significance of the recurring motifs Ab-C-B and A-Eb-C-B – are explained in the editor’s detailed commentary in this revised new edition.
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Robert Schumann’s (1810–56) Carnaval, op. 9, is today one of the composer’s most frequently played compositions for the piano. Modern listeners will hardly be in a position to notice that these extremely virtuosic and highly effective pieces reflect the story of an ultimately abandoned love affair while intimating the rebirth of a new and yet earlier one. The fact that … 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 vorliegende vorbildliche Henle-Neuausgabe geht auf die deutsche Breitkopf & Härtel-Erstausgabe von 1837 zurück, benutzt jedoch zum Abgleich die bereits vorher erschienene französische Erstausgabe aus dem gleichen Jahr.
In any case, Ernst Herttrich, Henle’s consummate editor, will unravel all these extramusical implications in his excellent Preface, quite apart from clearing up any variant readings in his closing Comments.
… I turn to Henle Urtext and pick up Schumann’s … Carnaval Op 9 … You can always rely on Henle to produce erudite, elegant Urtext editions with interesting prefaces and fingering … and these are definitively fine, as always.