Nachtstücke op.23 
composed in 1839 - dedicated to Mr. F.A.Becker in Freiberg

Mehr langsam, oft zurückhaltend, C major 
Markirt und lebhaft, F major
Mit grosser Lebhaftigkeit, D-flat major
Einfach, F major


“Yesterday I received a somber letter from Therese in Zwickau; it seemed to me a harbinger of Eduard’s [his brother’s] death…I have been writing a ‘Corpse Fantasy’ since Monday—I find my presentiment curious.” 
He wrote Clara in March, 1839: “I wanted to write you about my premonition; I had it while working on my new composition from the 24th to the 27th of March. There is a passage to which I kept returning, which is like the heartfelt sob of ‘O Lord.’ As I composed it I imagined funeral marches, coffins, unhappy and despairing people, and when I was finished and sought long for a title I kept coming back to one: ‘Corpse Fantasy.’ Isn’t it strange? While composing it I was often so affected that the tears flowed without particular reason or understanding—then Therese’s letter arrived and all was clear.” 

This Corpse Fantasy was rechristened as Nachtstücke (Night Pieces), op. 23. Schumann’s original titles follow:
“Corpse Fantasy”
No. 1: “Funeral March”
No. 2: “Strange Company 
No. 3: “Nocturnal Banquet”
No. 4: “Round with Solo Voices”

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber