Classical Music | Piano Music

Robert Schumann

Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 (Carnival of Vienna)  Play

Juan Carlos Piano

Recorded on 02/08/2017, uploaded on 09/23/2017

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Robert Schumann's genius extends not only to piano music but to music in general. Born in 1810 to a family of book sellers, Schumann's music is permeated by his knowledge of romantic literature. Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26 is described by the composer as a Phantasiebilder (fantasy-pictures) in five movements, and it describes the Carnival spirit of Vienna. 


The first movement, the longest, introduces us to the joy of the Carnival and prepares us for the rest of the parade. The second movement presents the most intimate music of the whole piece. Only a page long, it is the least virtuosic of the movements, and the saddest in character. The Scherzino features a lively mocking motive as a theme in which one can observe two or more characters interacting. The festive Scherzino ends with a rampage of awkwardly written octaves for the left hand which immediately sets up the mood for the Intermezzo. 


The Intermezzo is the most romantic in nature of the five movements. It presents itself with a characteristic virtuosic accompaniment in the right hand, which supports a heart-aching melody longing for resolution that will only be granted at the end

_of the movement. The finale sets us back again in the festive mood of the Carnival. After an introduction resembling a band of fanfares, there is a subtler, yet lively, melody which drives the whole movement to a dramatic coda, ending the piece as it started, with joyful gestures and gay music to bring to a close the festivities of a grandiose Carnival.    Notes by Juan Carlos



Faschingsschwank aus Wien      Robert Schumann 




Schumann's Faschingsschwank aus Wien (“Carnival Scenes from Vienna”) for solo piano is a rather unusual work falling somewhere in between a suite and a sonata. It consists of five movements that nearly fulfill the usual movements of a sonata, though they are arranged in a different order.




The first movement is a vast Allegro in triple time. One of the more technically challenging movements, it begins with a waltz tune which then alternates with six different episodes. The episodes vary greatly, from the lyrical to the off-kilter and even the militant. The movement comes to an impressive close with sweeping arpeggios and full chords. Following is a lyrical Romanze in G minor. Simple and concise, it presents a mournful melody interrupted only by a brief section in C major.




A Scherzino follows the gloomy second movement and offers a welcome lighthearted contrast. Constructed on a rather simple two measure motif, its characteristic rhythm permeates much of the movement. The motif is consistently passed between treble and bass and the only substantial break in the pattern is the octave run that leads to the close of the movement. The following Intermezzo returns to the melancholy of the Romanze. The melody appears in the right hand over an undulating arpeggio accompaniment and octave bass notes in the left hand. The Finale, however, dispels the gloomy atmosphere with triumphant octave B-flats and arpeggios. It is cast in a conventional sonata form and is the perhaps the most technically demanding part of the work. Constantly alternating between accompanimental sixteenth-note and triplets, the energetic movement comes to a magnificent close with colossal chords in both hands.      Joseph DuBose