Arabeske op.18, C major
composed in 1839 - dedicated to Mrs. F. Serre auf Maxen 

Blumenstück op.19, D-flat major 
composed in 1839 - dedicated to Mrs. F. Serre auf Maxen 

Arabesque is an unusual name for a piece of music, but Schumann often associated music with paintings. An arabesque is an ornament; musically seen, a theme that comes alive in its little decorations, making the title a completely logical one. Schumann wrote to Henriette Voigt about this piece, composed in Vienna, “…I plead innocence that these stems and lines are so delicate and fragile.” The Arabesque has a song-like character. The pianistic structure is kept quite simple, the first clue to his appreciation of another art form, the Lied.

The Blumenstück op. 19 and the Humoreske were written while Schumann was in Vienna. To the sketch of the Blumenstück was appended, “written in the absence of any better idea.” The work has a song-like character and the piano texture is kept simple. Schumann wrote to the pianist Fischhof in an ironic tone: “At the moment I am composing well, and would like to achieve the goal of being the Viennese ladies’ favorite composer.” To his friend Henriette Voigt he explained: “…It is not my fault that all the stems and lines turned out so delicate and weak.

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber