Robert Schumann, born in Zwickau in 1810, became one of the major composers of the 19th century. Although his rise to musical prominence was comparatively slow (unlike Chopin and Liszt, Schumann was not a child prodigy as a performer) by the time he died in 1856, Schumann’s artistic output left a legacy that made him one of the most influential figures in 19th century German musical life.
As a son of a librarian Schumann was interested in literature at an early age. His literary interest was later reflected in his activities as an author, critic, and a keen writer of personal diaries. Finally it influenced his music as well. In much of his piano music literary inspiration (Jean Paul, E. T. A. Hoffmann) combines with an extrovert musical style, as is particularly evident in his cyclical works.
Robert Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 is among the composer’s most popular and most studied piano cycles. Originally conceived as a ‘grand romantic sonata’, the work presents pictures of lively carnival revelry. Based on the musical text of the New Schumann Complete Edition, this edition thus represents the current state of Schumann research. The notes on interpretation by Tobias Koch took into account the sound characteristics of the pianoforte and different sources from Schumann’s circle.
Schumann’s Album für die Jugend is one of the milestones of educationally inspired piano literature. In this quite progressively structured work, the pieces ‘Für Kleinere’ (For the Younger Ones) are followed by a second section ‘Für Erwachsenere’ (For the More Grown-Ups). This, in particular, provides a largely underestimated repertoire for adults who want to resume piano playing, which gives double importance to Schumann’s opus.
The revised Wiener Urtext Edition also has an annex containing all the pieces that were originally intended for the album but were not included in the first edition. This issue also has the title illustrations that Ludwig Richter had designed for ten of the 43 pieces. They were only used as a frame for the title page in the first edition, but they are assigned to their respective pieces for the first time here. The preface explains the backgrounds of the images.