No 1: Nicht schnell
No 2: Einfach, innig – Etwas lebhafter
No 3: Nicht schnell
Just as the Adagio and Allegro for horn and piano was published with alternative parts for violin or cello, so the Three Romances appeared with a violin part as a substitute for the oboe. Schumann may have conceived the music for the more melancholy sound of the wind instrument, but it works very well on the violin, and it is worth bearing in mind that one or two of the descending octave leaps in the second piece actually fall below the oboe’s range.
Like the clarinet pieces, the Romances are all in A major or minor. However, their cyclic unity is less in evidence, and they do not offer so strong a contrast in mood or tempo. In fact, all three pieces are played at a similar pace (though the middle section of No 2 is more agitated), so that the cycle gives the impression of unfolding in a single span. Unlike its two companions, the opening piece does not have a clearly demarcated central section. Instead, each phrase appears to grow out of the last, and the music is further bound together by the manner in which it so inextricably weaves together theme and accompaniment.
from notes by Misha Donat © 2001