Schumann Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13

The Symphonic Etudes (French: Études Symphoniques), Op. 13, is a group of piano etudes published by Robert Schumann in 1837. The theme on which they were crafted had been sent to Schumman by Baron von Fricken, guardian of Ernestine von Fricker, who had been Schumann's fiancee at one point. The final, twelfth, published étude was a variation on the theme from the Romance Du stolzes England freue dich, from Heinrich Marschner's opera Der Templer und die Jüdin, which was based on Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (as a tribute to Schumann's English friend, William Sterndale Bennett). The earlier Fricken theme occasionally appears briefly during this étude. A good number of these Etudes were conceived as variations, and so, fifteen years later, a second edition of the work saw the pieces that did not correspond to the variation form eliminated from the set. Some revisions were made to the piano writing as well. The highly virtuosic demands of the piano writing are frequently aimed not merely at effect but at clarification of the polyphonic complexity and at delving more deeply into keyboard experimentation. The Etudes are considered to be one of the most difficult works for piano by Schumann (together with his Fantasy in C) and in piano literature as a whole. On republishing the set in 1890, Johannes Brahms restored the five variations that had been cut by Schumann. These are now often played, but in positions within the cycle that vary somewhat with each performance; there are now twelve variations and these five so-called "posthumous" variations which exist as a supplement.


Symphonic Etudes Op. 13 - II. Etudes Nos. 10-12
Symphonic Etudes Op. 13 - III. Etudes Nos. 10-12
Symphonic Etudes Op. 13



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