Critics are always keen to know something the composers themselves cannot say. [...] Heavens above, when will the day dawn that at last nobody asks us what we wanted to express in our God-given compositions: look for the fifths and leave us in peace. Of course Schumann’s parting shot about the search for parallel fifths (intervals forbidden in composition) was in jest. This was something Schumann himself never did, although he was a first-class critic. On the contrary, he showed a lively interest in any circumstances relating to his subject matter when he wrote about a composer or his works in the Neue Zeitschrift fu?r Musik. He wanted to know ‘about the composer’s school, the opinions he held in his youth, his ideals, even his activities and living conditions’.
This album features piano compositions Schumann wrote in the 1830s: the Sonata No.1 in F sharp minor, Op.11 (1833–1835); Kreisleriana, Op.16 (1838); Arabeske, Op.18 (1839); and Blumenstu?ck, Op.19 (1839). Instead of seeking fifths we will try to picture circumstances in the composer’s life that would have influenced these pieces.