Setting the pattern for other similar works, to maximize potential sales Schumann simultaneously published the Fantasiestücke
, Op 73 for clarinet and piano in versions for violin and for cello. The three ‘Fantasy Pieces’ form a compact suite, with the contrasting movements unified to create a cyclic structure. In the nostalgic A minor opening piece, Zart und mit Ausdruck
(‘Tenderly and expressively’), the piano and clarinet present a pair of themes in free counterpoint. The piano’s theme then morphs into a skittish major-keyed dance in the scherzo-like second movement, Lebhaft, leicht
(‘Lively, light’). The boisterous final Rasch und mit Feuer
(‘Fast and fiery’) nonchalantly incorporates both ideas from the first movement, ending with a jubilant transformation of the once-soulful piano theme.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2012