Bunte Blätter op.99
composed 1836-1849 - dedicated to Miss Mary Potts

Drei Stücklein: Nicht schnell, mit Innigkeit - Sehr rasch - Frisch (1839)
Albumblätter: Ziemlich langsam (1841) - Schnell (1838) - Ziemlich langsam, sehr gesangvoll (1836) - Sehr langsam (1838) - Langsam (1838)
Novelette, Lebhaft (1838)
Präludium, Energisch (1839)
Marsch, Sehr getragen (1843)
Abendmusik, Im Menuettempo (1841)
Scherzo, Lebhaft (1841)
Geschwindmarsch, Sehr markiert (1849)

In the meantime Schumann and Clara had married against the wishes of her father. They resided in Dresden and had several children. It was the time of the Revolution of 1848. Schumann compiled the best of his pieces, some of which he had written earlier, and  some for which he had not found a use, into a 14-part collection. The first three pieces are examples of his art of characterization. From a simple triadic motif emerges a light, quizzical piece in major, followed by an energetic rhythmically off-kilter piece in minor, which is then countered by lively E major. In his diaries, Schumann describes these as Nocturnes: “Composed some pretty things, the first two Nocturnes in A major, on December 18, 1838.” The second series, a group of five Albumblätter introduces the famous theme in F-sharp minor, to which Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms later wrote variations. In no. 5 simple, dreamy whole-tone intervals transform—rushing in B minor, dancing in A-flat major, depressed in G-sharp minor, and ending in the lightness of E-flat major in no. 8.
Noveletten relates a musical story, and the cycle concludes utilizing larger musical forms. As in Rachmaninov’s Preludes in B-flat minor, Schumann employs various dances. The mercilessly static March in D minor suddenly changes into a minuet, is followed by a incisive scherzo and a breathless, fantastic march, and combines in a short time and space a myriad variety of colors, forms, and dances.


Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber