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Robert Schumann’s Op 12: Introduction to Fantasiestucke

Robert Schumann is one of the most accomplished composers of the Romantic era. He was known for his innovative piano compositions, and his cycle, Fantasiestucke, Op 12 is considered one of his most iconic works. This masterpiece comprises huit pieces for solo piano, composed between 1837 and 1838. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of Schumann’s Op 12, delving into the techniques, emotions, and motifs he used to create this timeless piece.

What is Fantasiestucke?

Before we dive into the details of Schumann’s Op 12, it’s essential to comprehend the concept of Fantasiestucke. The term translates to « fantasy pieces » or « imaginative pieces, » and they were a popular form of Romantic-era music. Fantasiestucke were usually short, individual compositions intended to capture a specific mood or emotion.

Schumann’s Op 12 cycle follows this format, with each piece having a unique character and atmosphere that adds to the overall narrative of the work.

The Eight Pieces in Op 12

The eight pieces that constitute Schumann’s Op 12 are:

  1. Des Abends (In the evening)
  2. Aufschwung (Soaring)
  3. Warum? (Why?)
  4. Grillen (Whims)
  5. In der Nacht (In the night)
  6. Fabel (Fable)
  7. Traumes Wirren (Dream’s Confusions)
  8. Ende vom Lied (End of the Song)

Each fantaisie has its unique character, but they are all connected by a common theme that Schumann described as « Evening, Night, and Dreams. »

Des Abends

The first fantaisie in Op 12 is Des Abends, a soulful and introspective piece that sets the tone for the entire cycle. The piece is in the key of F major, and it features a simple, graceful melody that evokes a sense of tranquility and longing.


The second piece, Aufschwung, is far more dynamic and upbeat. The title, which translates to « soaring, » aptly describes the energy and urgency of the music. Aufschwung is in the key of Eb minor, and it features rapid arpeggios and sweeping chord progressions that create a sense of exhilaration and excitement.

Warum?, which means « why? » in German, is a reflective and melancholic piece that contrasts the previous two compositions. The piece is in the key of Bb minor, and it features a haunting melody that conveys a sense of confusion and introspection.

Op 12″ est une œuvre musicale composée par Robert Schumann et sortie en 1837. Cette dernière se compose de huit pièces pour piano, chacune ayant une sonorité et une histoire différents. À travers ces pièces, Schumann explore une grande variété d’émotions à travers sa musique. Il a expressément écrit ses sentiments sur les épreuves et les joies de la vie dans « Op 12 ».

Parmi les pièces les plus connues de l’opus 12 de Robert Schumann figurent « Des Abends (Le soir) », « Aufschwung (envol) » et « Grillen (Grillons) ». De plus, la musique de cet opus fut une source d’inspiration pour de nombreux pianistes et compositeurs. On peut également mentionner l’importance de cette œuvre dans la vie du compositeur lui-même, car elle marque le début de sa carrière musicale en solo.

Si vous êtes passionné de piano, l’opus 12 de Robert Schumann est une œuvre incontournable à écouter. Vous pouvez même vous procurer le CD « Fantasiestucke op 12 / Fantaisie op 17 » sur le site de la Fnac à l’adresse suivante : Grâce à cet album, vous pourrez apprécier la complexité et la subtilité des mélodies de Schumann avec une qualité d’écoute optimale.

En somme, « Op 12 » de Robert Schumann est un chef-d’œuvre de la musique classique qui a traversé les siècles. Cette œuvre est considérée par les mélomanes comme l’un des plus importants opus créés par le célèbre compositeur allemand. Si vous êtes un amateur de musique classique, l’opus 12 de Schumann est une pièce à ne pas manquer. Et pour vous procurer une version de cet opus, rendez-vous sur la Fnac en suivant ce lien :


In contrast to the introspective nature of Warum?, the fourth piece, Grillen, is playful and whimsical. The title means « whims, » and the music portrays a sense of mischief and humor. The piece is in the key of E minor, and it features arpeggiated figures and pizzicato accompaniment that create a light, frothy texture.

In der Nacht

The fifth piece, In der Nacht, is a nocturne that returns to the introspective and melancholic mood that characterized Warum? The piece is in the key of F minor, and it features a simple, poignant melody that evokes a sense of loneliness and yearning.


The sixth piece, Fabel, is a charming and lighthearted composition that tells a musical story. The title means « fable, » and the music seems to depict a whimsical tale with its playful melodies and lively rhythms.

Traumes Wirren

Traumes Wirren, the seventh piece in Op 12, means « dreams confusions. » The piece is in the key of C# minor, and it features a complex and disorienting melody that captures the fragmented nature of dreams.

Ende vom Lied

The final piece in Op 12 is Ende vom Lied, which translates to « the end of the song. » The piece is in the key of G minor, and it features a mournful melody that brings the entire cycle to a wistful and nostalgic conclusion.

The Significance of Op 12

Schumann’s Op 12 cycle is considered a masterpiece of the Romantic era, and its significance can be attributed to several factors:

  • Emotional Range: The pieces in Op 12 span a wide range of emotions and moods, from introspective melancholy to joyful exuberance. This emotional breadth adds depth to the overall cycle and makes it relatable to listeners of all experiences.
  • Musical Innovation: Schumann’s use of unconventional harmonies, intricate counterpoint, and fragmented melodies was groundbreaking for its time and influenced generations of composers who followed.
  • Personal Significance: Schumann wrote Op 12 during a period of intense personal struggle, and the cycle reflects his emotional turmoil and mental state at the time. This autobiographical element adds a layer of intimacy and vulnerability to the work.

The Legacy of Op 12

Schumann’s Op 12 has had a lasting impact on classical music and continues to be performed and admired today. The cycle has been recorded numerous times by pianists of varying generations and interpretations, and it remains a staple of the piano repertoire.

Antoine Courtois, a prominent manufacturer of French horns and brass instruments, has even created a line of horns named after the Fantasiestucke cycle, titled « The Schumann Series. »


Robert Schumann’s Op 12 is a landmark composition that exemplifies the innovation and emotional power of the Romantic era. The eight pieces in the cycle showcase Schumann’s versatility as a composer, and their timeless appeal continues to inspire and captivate listeners over a century later.