Schumann dedicated himself to overcoming the confining principles of 18th-century Classicism, and he helped to evolve the concepts and techniques of 19th-century Romanticism. An overall look at Schumann’s piano works helps to reveal typical characteristics of his compositional style. A dreamer and idealist, Schumann instilled passion in his music to a degree seldom surpassed in the 19th century. His compositions are not exclusively derived from musical or literary sources – he also had a penchant for musical enigmas and obscure descriptive titles, lending a spirit of fantasy to his music.
These variations (1843) were first written for two pianos, two horns, and two cellos, and were later published in their present form for two pianos alone. Schumann wrote of the variations to a friend, “Their mood is very elegiac and I think I must have been very melancholy when I wrote them.”
-- Notes by Ileen Zovluck; © 1998 and 2001, Columbia Artists Management, Inc.