Album für die Jugend op.68
composed in 1848

Melodie - Soldatenmarsch - Trällerliedchen - Ein Choral - 
Stückchen - Armes Waisenkind - Jägerliedchen - Wilder Reiter - Volksliedchen - Fröhlicher Landmann - Sicilianisch - Knecht Ruprecht - 
Mai, lieber Mai,-Bald bist du wieder da!  Kleine Studie - Frühlingsgesang - Erster Verlust - 
Kleiner Morgenwanderer - 

Kleine Romanze - Ländliches Lied -
*** - Rundgesang - Reiterstück -
Erndteliedchen - 
Nachklänge aus dem Theater - *** -
Canonisches Liedchen - Erinnerung -
Fremder Mann - *** - Kriegslied - 
Sheherazade - 
„Weinlesezeit-Fröhliche Zeit!“ - 
Thema - Mignon -
Lied italienischer Marinari -
Matrosenlied - Winterszeit I -
Winterszeit II - Kleine Fuge -
Nordisches Lied - Figurirter Choral -

Which of these composers are quoted in the Album op.68?
Alongside these large works, there appeared the Album für die Jugend, op. 68, and the Waldszenen, op. 82. Schumann wrote the first piece of the Album for his eldest daughter Marie’s birthday, and the beginning treats episodes from his daughter’s life. The first loss documented is that of a bird that Marie kept in a cage. Robert Schumann fed it a semolina dumpling which did not agree with it, and the next day it was dead. Though simple, these pieces also possess an underlying compositional cohesion. The “Melody” of no. 1 is changed rhythmically in the “Soldier’s March” no. 2, and its downward movement is redirected upwards in “Humming Song” no. 3; all of the pieces have a poetic relation to the melody. New pieces emerged daily until the album finally consisted of 43 pieces divided into two parts. “These are quite different than the Kinderszenen. They are recreations of youth by an older person for older listeners, while the Christmas album is concerned more with creating illusions and presentiments of future situations for the young.” The album is arranged according to seasons, beginning in spring (Mai, lieber Mai), moving through summer, autumn (Weinlesezeit) and winter, and concluding with a New Year’s Song. Schumann wrote Carl Reinecke in 1848: “My newest (compositions)—turned out the day before yesterday—are also worthy of consideration. It is true that one always cherishes the youngest above all, but these are especially close to my heart, and actually stem directly from family life. The first of the pieces in the album was written for the birthday of our oldest child (Marie) and the others followed suit one after the other. It felt as if I was starting at the very beginning again as a composer. And touches of humor are detectable here and there.” 

In "Erinnerung" ("Memory"), no. 28, Schumann remembered Mendelssohn, and the "Nordische Lied" ("Nordic Song") is a salute to Niels Gade. Ludwig Richter, who inscribed the title page, commented about the "Winterzeit" ("Wintertime") in C minor: "Roundabout lie woods and fields blanketed in snow; deep snow covers the streets of the city. Evening sunset. Snowflakes lightly begin to fall. The old folks sit inside in their comfortable room at the glowing hearth and watch the gleeful play of the children with their dolls." The collection is arranged according to season, beginning in spring ("Mai, lieber Mai"/"May, lovely May") and extending through summer, autumn ("Weinlesezeit"/"Wine Harvest"), winter, and ending in a New Year's song.

The collection was Schumann's personal reaction to the revolution, championing an inner liberation of children and adults that Schumann had experienced in his own childhood with the tolerant instruction in music and literature he had received from his parents. Schumann had no desire to aid the increasing violence of the revolution, but rather the education and liberty of the individual. Two pieces, "Gukkuk im Versteck" ("Cuckoo in Hiding") and "Haschemann" ("Catch Me if You Can"-not to be confused with op. 15, no. 3) were not included in the collection though they were originally conceived as a part of it. 

Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber