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FastNotes

  • These three fantasies come from one of the happier periods in Schumann’s career. Though the contrasting shifts of sudden mood swings are an essential element of Schumann’s fantasy writing, these three pieces are also highly unified and intended to be played as a group.
  • Each is in the A-B-A song form typical of Romantic miniatures, creating a sequence of nested patterns here, culminating in a swelling coda with Schumann urging “faster” twice.

These three fantasies come from one of the happier periods in Schumann’s career. He wrote them quickly in Dresden, in February 1849, and they were published later that year. He had the clarinet in mind originally, and called the work “Soiréestücke” (Night Pieces) before settling on Fantasiestücke (a characteristic label of his) and indicating that they might also be played by violin or cello, a practical concession to the domestic market for this sort of home entertainment.

Though the contrasting shifts of sudden mood swings are an essential element of Schumann’s fantasy writing, these three pieces are also highly unified and intended to be played as a group. They move from dark to light, from inward reflection to extroverted exuberance. Each is in the A-B-A song form typical of Romantic miniatures, creating a sequence of nested patterns here, culminating in a swelling coda with Schumann urging “faster” twice.