Thursday, 8 November 2018


London auctioneer Bonhams has announced the inclusion of a hitherto unknown draft from 19th century German composer Robert Schumann's 1837 “Fantasiestücke,” the collective title of a set of eight pieces for piano in its November 27 Fine Books and Manuscripts sale.

Schumann drew inspiration for Fantasiestücke from the Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier of author E.T.A. Hoffmann - a collection of novellas, essays, treatises, letters and writings concerning music. Additionally, Schumann attributed the dual facets of his personality into each movement after Florestan (impetuous, passionate) and Eusebius (a sensitive dreamer) - characters assigned by the composer who dwell among the fictitious “Davidsbünd,” a band of Davidian artists who rejected the cultural Philistines of the era. As such, the eight pieces which make up Fantasiestücke vary in mood from sensitive and serene to playful and jovial. Schumann had previously explored this concept earlier the same year with his famous eighteen-piece Davidsbündlertänze, his sixth opus.

The 14-page manuscript, which is projected to sell between £200,000-300,000 (its current estimated value), is described by Bonhams as a “major discovery [which] provides a fascinating insight into Schumann’s working methods, and the creative decisions he took in completing the version of Fantasiestücke we are familiar with contains six of the eight pieces from the final work and a ninth piece that was dropped at proof stage. Markings in Schumann’s characteristic red crayon also show how he experimented with the order in which the pieces should be played.”

*CLICK TO ENLARGE* Excerpt from the manuscript of
Robert Schumann's "Fantasiestücke"
The manuscript, completed in Schumann's own hand in July 1837, survived potential desecration during WWII thanks to a fortuitous exchange of hands that began with Schumann himself, who delivered it into the possession of the Jewish composer Gustav Schmidt in August of the same year, later to be acquired by Jewish-German jurist Dr. Moritz Sprinz, who would carry the work among his possessions during his flight from Germany in February 1939, mere months before the outbreak of the war.

Fantasiestücke is listed under Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, Lot 31. The auction will begin at 13:00 GMT.

Listen below to all eight pieces of Schumann's Fantasiestücke. Martha Argerich performs.

External links:

- Rose.

No comments:

Post a comment