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Kreisleriana Op.16
 Composed by Schumann, Robert
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Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Kreisleriana Op.16

Kreisleriana, a series of eight Fantasies to be played as a complete whole, was written in a mere four days in April 1838. As so often with Schumann, when the inspiration hit, it hit hard and fast. Days after its composition he writes to his wife, Clara: "How full of music I am now, and always such lovely melodies! Only fancy, since my last letter I have finished a whole book of new things. You, and one of your ideas, are the principal subject, and I shall call them 'Kreisleriana' and dedicate them to you. Yes to you and nobody else. And you will smile so sweetly when you see yourself in them. Even to myself my music now seems wonderfully intricate in spite of its simplicity. Its eloquence comes straight from the heart." And straight from the heart it is. The music is full of tortuous twists and turns, of intricate soul-searching and passionate pleading. And yet the name of the work derives from a character created by German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, who inspired a good many composers in the nineteenth century with his writings. Schumann was of the opinion that Hoffmann had based his character, Kreisler, on an eccentric and wildly witty conductor named Böhner (1787-1860). But the piece reflects the Romantic spirit of the times, and specifically the wild, witty and intense spirit of Schumann's as much as it does that of anybody else.

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