Schumann – Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 – Music | History
Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, is a set of eight pieces for piano, written in 1837. The title was inspired by the 1814–15 collection of novellas, essays, treatises, letters, and writings about music, Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier (which also included the complete Kreisleriana, another source of inspiration for Schumann) by one of his favourite authors, E. T. A. Hoffmann. Schumann dedicated the pieces to Fräulein Anna Robena Laidlaw, an accomplished and attractive 18-year-old Scottish pianist with whom Schumann had become good friends.
Schumann composed the pieces with the characters Florestan and Eusebius in mind, representing the duality of his personality. Eusebius depicts the dreamer in Schumann while Florestan represents his passionate side. These two characters parlay with one another throughout the collection, ending self-reflectively with Eusebius in “Ende vom Lied”.