Humoreske op.20, B-flat major
composed in  1839 - dedicated to Mrs. Julie v.Webenau 
“The philosophers could learn that in music it is possible for even the frivolous youth to speak of the profundities of the world.” Diary entry

The Humoreske, op. 20, contains the sense of humor so exemplified by Jean Paul, who tried to bridge the discrepancy between real life and the metaphysical needs of mankind by his use of humor. Jean Paul had Schumann in mind when he mentioned, in commenting on the Humoreske: “The philosophers could learn that in music it is possible for even the frivolous youth to speak of the profundities of the world. Music has just this capacity: it appears as a child simply playing. But to a receptive heart (of which clever and scientific types would be ashamed) it sometimes hides behind roguish musical figures, or sometimes lovelorn melancholy. It wafts in wondrous hints the gentle question ‘Do you understand me?’ though many hearts are incapable of understanding.” Schumann noted this sentence, and added in his next letter: “I sat at the piano all week long, and composed and laughed and cried all at once. All this you will find well represented in my opus 20, the grand Humoreske.”
It is a cyclical work based on a thematic seed, in seven sections, and is characterized by rapid contrasts in tempo and expression. “Music without text can only be serious, not at all humorous—only with contrast can anything comical be achieved,” is written in the diary.
“This Humoreske will please you; but it is rather less humorous than
 it is melancholy,” Schumann wrote to E. A. Becker.
 

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© Franz Vorraber