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Programme Notes - Märchenerzählungen, Schumann

Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132 Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

I Lebhaft, nicht zu schnell

II Lebhaft und sehr markiert

III Ruhiges Tempo, mit zartem Ausdruck

IV Lebhaft, sehr markiert


The end of Robert Schumann’s life is a sorrowful tale as his bouts of depression, suicide attempts and mental insanity increased, causing him to end up in an asylum. In 1853 a new friendship with the young Johannes Brahms and Albert Dictrich gave Schumann one last release and outburst of creation in which he composed his very last works, including this Märchenerzählungen Op. 132, which is dedicated to Dictrich. Schumann was a quintessential romantic, equally passionate about literature as he was music, and leading him to write many fanciful miniatures such as these Märchenerzählungen, which roughly translates as “Fairy Tales”. Specific references in literature for these four miniatures are unknown, but colourful moods and characters are expressed through a lively introduction, a march, a tender slow movement and an animated finale, all subtly linked with thematic references and light-hearted, but with an underlying hint of disturbed agitation.