Robert Schumann

Album für die Jugend (Album for the Young) for piano, Op. 68

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Schumann's Album for the Young is a masterful set of 43 short, easy piano pieces in two volumes. The 25 works in the second book are somewhat more challenging and longer than those in the first, but still well within the reach of good amateur pianists. The whole set really cannot be compared with the composer's Kinderszenen, a collection of piano pieces about children, but from an adult perspective and requiring a substantial technique. Schumann wrote Album for the Young for his children, the oldest then aged seven.

    The set's opening work is "Melody," a piece presenting a simple but lovely tune whose innocence and upper register writing remind one of a music box melody. "Soldier's March" follows, a cute, chipper piece brimming with childlike pride. Number four, "Choral," has an almost too somber manner, but is deftly innocent in its worshipful character. The sixth piece, "The Poor Orphan," has a touching sadness, while number eight, "The Wild Horseman," is vigorous and energetic.

    Among the most popular pieces in the collection is the tenth, "The Happy Farmer Returning From Work," which exudes joy and innocence in its jaunty gait and infectious melody. The longest work in the first volume, lasting nearly three minutes, is number 15, "Spring Song," a sweetly lyrical piece whose simple but beguiling beauty will appeal, like most works in the collection, to the adult as well as child.

    Little Romance, number 19, leads off the second volume with a decidedly more mature manner, the somewhat stormy character of its melody seeming to reach beyond childhood innocence almost to teenage infatuation. Still, the prevailing qualities in the second book are innocence and childlike simplicity, as demonstrated by the jaunty and rhythmic number 23, "The Horseman," or the wistful number 27, "Little Song in Canon Form."

    Number 32, "Sheherazade," at about four minutes, is the longest piece in the second volume. It deftly conveys a beguiling lyrical ingenuousness, instead of the Eastern exoticism suggested by its title. "Wintertime I & II" (38 & 39) make up five minutes' worth of sweetly melancholy music, the latter piece somewhat darker in the lower register writing of the outer sections. The closing piece, "New Year's Eve," has a youthful stateliness in its almost Brahmsian melody and celebratory manner.

    The original edition of the Album was beautifully engraved and published in the expectation that it would be Schumann's most popular work: it was, and to this day, these pieces remain a staple of the young pianist's repertoire.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Melodie in C major
    2. Soldatenmarsch in G major, Munter und straff
    3. Trällerliedchen in C major, Nicht schnell
    4. Ein Choral in G major, "Freue dich, o meine Seele"
    5. Stückchen in C major, Nicht schnell
    6. Armes Waisenkind in A minor, Langsam
    7. Jägerliedchen in F major, Frisch und frohlich
    8. Wilder Reiter in A minor
    9. Volksliedchen in D minor, Im klagenden Ton
    10. Frölicher Landmann, von der Arbeit Zurückkehrend in F major, Frisch und munter
    11. Sizilianisch in A minor, Schalkhaft
    12. Knecht Ruprecht in A minor
    13. Mai, lieber Mai, bald bist du wieder da! in E major, Nicht schnell
    14. Kleine Studie in G major, Leise und sehr egal zu spielen
    15. Frühlingsgesang in E major, Innig zu spielen
    16. Erster Verlust in E minor, Nicht schnell
    17. Kleiner Morgenwanderer in A major, Frisch und kraftig
    18. Schnitter Liedchen in C major, Nicht sehr schnell
    19. Kleine Romanze in A minor, Nicht schnell
    20. Ländliches Lied in A major, In massigem Tempo
    21. [untitled] in C major, Langsam und mit Ausdruck zu spielen
    22. Rundgesang in A major, Massig, Sehr gebunden zu spielen
    23. Reiterstücke in D minor, Kurz und bestimmt
    24. Ernteliedchen, Mit frohlichem Ausdruck
    25. Nachklänge aus dem Theater in A minor, Etwas agitirt
    26. [untitled] in F major, Nicht schnell, hübsch vorzutragen
    27. Canonisches Liedchen in A major, Nicht schnell und mit innigem Ausdruck
    28. Erinnerung in A major, Nicht schnell und gesangvoll zu spielen
    29. Fremder Mann in D minor, Stark und kraftig zu spielen
    30. [Untitled] in F major, Sehr kraftig
    31. Kriegslied in D major
    32. Sheherazade in A minor, Ziemlich langsam, leise
    33. Weinlesezeit-Frohlich Zeit! in E major, Munter
    34. Thema in C major, Langsam, Mit inniger Empfindung
    35. Mignon in E flat major, Lagnsam, zart
    36. Lied italienischer Marinari in G minor, Langsam
    37. Matrosenlied in G minor, Nicht schnell
    38. Winterzeit 1 in C major, Ziemlich langsam
    39. Winterzeit 2 in C minor, Langsam
    40. Kleine Fugue in A major/minor, Vorspiel - Lebhaft doch nicht zu schnell
    41. Nordisches Lied in D minor/F major, Im Volkston
    42. Figurirter Choral in D minor/F major
    43. Sylvesterlied in A major, In massigen Tempo

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Brilliant Classics 95020BR
    2015 Nimbus Alliance NI 6307
    2014 Acousence Classics ACOCD 11813
    2013 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic CD 98013
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics 5099967908
    2012 Alpha / Alpha Productions ALPHA 813
    2011 Arts Music 47756
    2010 Naxos 857808384
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94008
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960904
    2009 Document 231752
    2009 Alpha Productions 145
    2008 DA Records / Zebralution
    2008 DA Records / Zebralution
    2007 Claves 502603/04
    2005 Oehms 366
    2001 Nuova Era 7353
    1996 Royal Classics 700972
    1995 Arion 68294
    P&P Classica
    Antes 881003
    Naxos 555711
    Nuova Era 7318