Klaviersonate für die Jugend 
op.118/1, G major
composed in 1853 - for Julien

Allegro, Lebhaft 
Thema mit Variationen, Ziemlich langsam 
Puppen - Wiegenlied, Nicht schnell
Rondoletto, Munter 

Klaviersonate für die Jugend 
op.118/2, D major 
composed in  1853 - for Elise

Allegro, Lebhaft 
Canon, Lebhaft
Abendlied, Langsam 
Kindergesellschaft, Sehr lebhaft

Klaviersonate für die Jugend 
op.118/3, C major 
composed in 1853 - for Marie

Allegro, Im Marschtempo
Andante, Ausdrucksvoll
Zigeunertanz, Schnell
Traum eines Kindes, Sehr lebhaft

In 1853 the Schumann family, now with six children, resided in Düsseldorf. The composer dedicated a Piano Sonata “für die Jugend” op. 188 to his three eldest daughters Julie, Elise, and Marie. The youngest daughter Julien received a simple Sonata in G major that contained a “Doll’s Lullaby,” Elise a more demanding Sonata in D major, op. 118/2 with a “Canon,” an “Abendlied” and the very lively concluding “Kindergesellschaft.” Eduard Hanslick reported of his visit with the Schumann family: “Clara lead the way with the older girls, Schumann took the second [Elise] by the hand, and I the youngest, Julie, a wonderful child, jokingly referred to as my bride by Schumann…I could now observe the latter in his private and gentle role as family father. He spoke very little, but his friendly, almost childish demeanor (with a smile that always seemed poised break into a whistle) seemed to me to have a touching eloquence all its own.”

Marie, Schumann’s eldest daughter, wrote in her remembrances of her father: “When we were small, he would let us sit on his knee while he recited verses, or played a game with us that we called ‘put the bread in the oven,’ where he took one of us by the hand and pulled us through his splayed legs. The long, padded dressing gown that he usually wore in the parlor increased the fun of the game—we would disappear under it like a curtain, then crawl out to begin the game all over again. Sometimes father would also play pieces on the piano; I particularly remember the Hunting Chorus from Der Freischütz.” For his part, Schumann wrote about Marie, to whom the Sonata op. 188, No. 3, is dedicated: “Marie and I returned  from the garden quite late; she was hugging me tightly. The moon, close to the evening star, stood out in the blue. When Mariechen said, “Isn’t it true that the evening star stays close to the moon so it will not be so lonely?” she struck me as very much like the evening star herself.


Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber