Robert Schumann

Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor ("Grosse Sonate"), Op. 11

    Description by Robert Cummings

    This is an early work in Schumann's output, begun when the 23-year-old composer was engaged to marry Ernestine von Fricken and finished when he had begun romancing 15-year-old virtuoso pianist Clara Wieck, who would become his wife in 1840. Published anonymously under the names of Florestan and Eusebius (alter egos adopted for the art world by the eccentric Schumann), this sonata is cast in four movements, its large outer panels (each over 11 minutes) framing short inner movements.

    The first movement opens with a lengthy but quite lovely introduction marked Un poco adagio, where the main theme from the second movement is augured in the second subject. The main section (Allegro vivace) ensues, featuring a lively, fiery theme based on Schumann's 1832 Fandango in F sharp minor, a piece that also provided a springboard for Clara's Le ballet des revenants. A richly Romantic alternate theme soon appears, its slower tempo and sensual manner offering deft contrast. After a repeat of the main materials, a stormy, brilliantly colorful development section follows, with an abbreviated, melancholy reprise then closing out the movement.

    The ensuing Aria is very brief, but filled with feelings of romance and passion in the aforementioned main theme, which now flowers to utter beauty. Next comes the Scherzo, which features a jumpy, quirky melody and calmer second subject in the outer sections, surrounding a stately bright Intermezzo that exhibits the influence of Chopin.

    The finale (Allegro un poco maestoso) is a rondo brimming with melodic material, the first theme a stately creation coming in rapid, repeating chords, the next having a more subdued but still lively manner. Thereafter, the movement alternates between the blustery and the reflective, moods that supposedly reflect Schumann's alter egos -- Florestan (restless, disruptive) and Eusebius (contemplative). The sonata closes with a brilliantly virtuosic coda.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Introduzione. Un poco Adagio - Allegro vivace
    2. Aria
    3. Scherzo e Intermezzo. Allegrissimo
    4. Finale. Allegro un poco maestoso

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Steinway & Sons STNS 30097
    2018 First Hand Records FHR 62
    2017 Solo Musica SM 249
    2017 Symphonia ERM 1033
    2016 Hänssler Classic HC 16081
    2016 Sony Classical 88875183392
    2016 Melodiya MELCD 1002312
    2015 Alto MCSCD 1300
    2015 RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical 88875127202
    2015 Chandos CHAN 10841
    2015 Brilliant Classics 95020BR
    2015 Doron Music DRC 3068
    2014 Diversions / Divine Art DDV 24158
    2014 Hungaroton HCD 3275051
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings
    2014 Three Oranges Recordings 3OR 18
    2014 MDG
    2014 Melodiya MELCD 1002145
    2014 MDG Gold
    2014 Andromeda ANDRCD 9009
    2013 Entertainment Group 11503
    2013 Entertainment Group 14143
    2013 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 12072
    2013 Mirare 194
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Music & Arts MA 1263
    2012 Pierian / Pierian Recording Society PIR 0046
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Naxos 8573031
    2012 ECM / ECM New Series / Universal Music Group ECM 2122/23
    2012 John Khouri DM 070212
    2012 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 12007
    2012 Alpha / Alpha Productions ALPHA 813
    2012 Honens 200602
    2012 Piano Classics PCL 0029
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790908
    2011 Aliud Records ACDHJ 0422
    2011 ECM B 001611502
    2011 MDG 9471681-6
    2011 Centaur Records CRC3129
    2010 RCA Red Seal 88697770712
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Telos / Telos Music 85
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94008
    2010 Stradivarius 33846
    2010 Regis Records 1340
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960904
    2010 Caro Mitis 72006
    2010 Claves 50-1003/04
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 002894778816
    2010 Daniel Paul Horn
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Document 231752
    2009 MSR Classics 1323
    2009 EMI Classics 35740
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 EMI Classics 2357412
    2009 Ital Disc 6570
    2009 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2009 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Avi 8553088
    2008 Music & Arts MACD1220
    2008 Fuga Libera 528
    2008 Alpha Productions 124
    2008 Hyperion 55300
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 Union Square Music 58
    2007 Classic Concert 62010
    2007 IDIS 6516
    2007 Hyperion 67618
    2007 Hyperion 67618
    2007 Apex
    2007 Brilliant 93180
    2007 Urania 4260
    2006 Document 223012
    2006 Eroica Distribution 3291
    2006 Globe Records 5031
    2006 Urania 55204
    2006 Andromeda 5046
    2005 Urania 4237
    2005 Brilliant 92615
    2005 Nuova Era 7313
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 56414
    2004 Centurion Classics 2111
    2004 Nuova Era 7236
    2003 Aura Classics 0143
    2003 Ivory Records IVCD73001
    2003 Brilliant 92117
    2003 Decca 470915
    2002 Dynamic 413
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 4636762
    2002 RCA 63885
    2002 Naxos 8554275
    2002 Archipel 76
    2002 Brilliant 99791
    2002 Medici Classics (formerly Monarch) / Monarch Records 2004
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3023
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3022
    2001 Nuova Era 7353
    2000 Live Classics 301
    1999 BBC Music 4015
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Agora Musica 138
    1998 Grammofono 2000 78796
    1998 Music & Arts CD1013
    1998 Philips 456937
    1998 Centaur Records 2591
    1997 Seraphim UK 69727
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 62786
    1996 Live Classics 352
    1996 Berlin Classics 0091902
    1996 Hyperion 66864
    1995 Antes Edition 319050
    1995 Thorofon CTH 2289
    1994 CPO 999217
    1993 Denon Records 1786
    1993 Arabesque 6621
    1993 Russian Disc 11001
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423134
    Brilliant 92117/3
    Brilliant 92615/3
    Audiofon 72028
    FSM Adagio 97727
    Music & Arts 1070
    Pearl 99049
    London 421290
    Monitor (World) 72048
    Opticdata 62160
    Analekta 23126
    Arion 268218
    Lyrinx 83
    The Piano Library 224
    Lyrinx 083
    Dell'Arte 7005
    Erato
    Ades 20317
    Ades 13241
    Ermitage 133
    B&N 2431
    Melodiya 25172
    Brilliant 93180/11
    Arlecchino 12
    Enterprise 2019