Impromptus op.5, C major 
composed in 1833 
Dédiée à Monsieur Ignace Moscheles
2.version composed in 1850 
Most of the time I occupy myself with Bach,” he wrote in a musical-biographical sketch, “and this was the stimulus for the Impromptus, op. 5,  which are not to be regarded as a new variation form.” Schumann’s Impromptus, op. 5, are the first musical allusion to Clara Wieck, the daughter of his piano teacher. “In the evening Clara and I tossed off six Bach fugues, four-hands, at first sight…when I returned home close to nine o’clock I sat down at the piano and ideas poured out like flowers and gods that flowed from my fingers. So came ‘C - F - G - C.’” This motif, an unfinished “symphonic fugue,” exists in the form of sketches. Schumann employed it first in his Impromptus, op. 5, as a bass figure, above which he wrote variations. One of these employed a theme from Clara’s “Romance varieé” in the treble, the first appearance of a theme by Clara in Schumann’s work. The “symphonic fugue” ends the Impromptus. The motif is not pianistic, perhaps lending itself more to a wind instrument, and the finale seems to break the bounds of the piano entirely. In one of Schumann’s last works, the “Scenes from Goethe’s Faust,” he would use the motif again in the Chorus mysticus “Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis” (“All that is corruptible is only parable”).

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber