Sonate op.11, F-sharp minor 
composed 1833-35 - dedicated to Clara from Florestan and Eusebius
Introduzione, Un poco Adagio - Allegro vivace
Scherzo e Intermezzo,Allegrissimo
Finale, Allegro un poco maestoso
The proposition almost never accords to the premise, or the answer to the question. It seems as though the music desires to return to primeval roots unbound by metrical hierarchy, and gives itself up to the rhythms of speech, raising itself to higher levels (the Greek Chorus, the language of the Bible, the prose of Jean Paul).
Schumann on Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique 

Schumann's "Piano Sonata no. 1 in F-sharp minor," Op. 11 was dedicated to Clara Wieck, who reacted enthusiastically after first reading through it. Franz Liszt regarded the work as the best of its genre since Beethoven. It is a large-scale, outgoing work with an orchestral resonance, almost a symphony for piano. The orignal sketch of the first movement he termed Fandango, after the Spanish dance. “But the Fandango kept rolling around in my head. It is a heavenly idea with divine images, and is more malleable than Maskenball,” Schumann wrote in his diary in 1832.  The actual sonata begins with a call outlined by an ascending fourth, “perhaps a cry from my heart to you”—so he described the sonata to Clara in a letter. This signal Schumann would employ later as a final greeting in his last work, the "Geistervariationen" that he also dedicated to Clara. This motif and a recurring motif built on thirds comprise the germinating material of the entire sonata. Through fine shadings in melodic line, articulation and rhythm, a language is created that is only incidently recorded as musical notation. The transition to the second movement is a good example: a falling fourth appears at the end of the first movement, which then in a huge arch slowly transforms into a rising figure before ending in the motif of thirds, with the "timpani" motif echoing in the bass. Out of this develops a song, a love duet, which is melodically related to the previously melancholy thirds. Then the "timpani" motif changes abruptly into a delicate reminiscence. A high-spirited "Scherzo" and a monumental "Finale" of orchestral density end the work. Schumann's commentary in a letter was that he had ".poured much of my own heart's blood into it." (Schumann to his publisher Kistner about the Sonata, op. 11)

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber