Sonate op.14, F minor 
composed in 1836 - Dédiée à Monsieur Ignace Moscheles, 
2.version composed in 1853 
Scherzo, Molto comodo
Quasi Variazioni (Andantino de Clara Wieck)
Prestissimo possibile
SCHERZO o.op. F minor
original movement from the “concert sans orchestre"op.14
In  about four weeks it will be in your hands, and then you may well be amazed at what wonderful ideas are possible,” Schumann wrote to Ignaz Moscheles in 1836 about the Sonata, op.14.

For me the Sonata in F minor is the greatest sonata of the Romantic period, on the one hand concentrated around the repeating motif from the Andantino by his beloved Clara, and on the other surrounded by imaginative and “wonderful ideas.” Schumann, at 25, lived in Leipzig, and was aware that he would be neither lawyer, as his mother had wished, nor author, but rather pianist or composer. He felt himself irresistibly attracted to Clara Wieck, the daughter of his piano teacher. Papa Wieck forbade any contact between the two, even letters were not allowed. Her life was dedicated to her concert career, with papa as her manager. At this time, music became more than ever Schumann’s method of communication. His mother’s death added to his inner turmoil.
He completed three sonatas, each with its own primal motif threaded through the entire work, which surfaces in the finest nuances and shadings of variation. This “Schumann style” is most evident in the sonatas. Nevertheless, each of the three works has an entirely individual expression. The Sonata in F minor is the darkest and most troubled of Schumann’s works. Originally set in five movements, it was published, on the advice of the printer, at first as a three-movement  “Concert sans orchestre,” before finally appearing in 1853 as the four-movement Sonata in f minor. The sonata is notable for the motif of the descending fifth, taken from an Andantino by Clara (which first appears in its entirety in the third movement). At the beginning of the sonata the motive is hammered out by the left hand as the bass figure. In close imitation through all voices, followed by a lyrical  inversion, this motif determines the stormy character of the first movement. In the second movement, a mazurka grows out of the motif, and in the third movement, it becomes a theme and variations, changing moods before a tragic last variation that ends with an F minor chord repeated nine times (!). In the following prestissimo all earlier boundaries are abandoned. Shredded, rhythmically displaced, the motif is inundated by cascading sixteenth note figures. Before the coda the troubled mood culminates in a tremolo, that predates the Russian Skriabin’s late works that it resembles.
The Scherzo (no opus number) is the original movement from the “concert sans orchestre.” Exhibiting “wonderful ideas,” it is an almost experimental piece written partially without barlines.

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber