The Nachtstücke (Night Pieces) are a suite of four pieces by Robert Schumann. This characterful suite of music was originally written for piano only, except movement 4, where the solo pianist is joined by solo voices.
The Nachtstücke (Night Pieces) are a suite of four pieces by Robert Schumann. This characterful suite of music was originally written for piano only, except movement 4, where the solo pianist is joined by solo voices. Composed in 1839, Schumann envisaged the following titles for the four pieces: Trauerzug (Funeral Procession), Kuriose Gesellschaft (Curious Company), Nächtliches Gelage (Nocturnal Revel) and Rundgesang mit Solostimmen (Roundelay with Solo Voices), interestingly, these titles were not included in the original edition. In this fine arrangement by Donal Bannister, movement 3 is omitted.
Schumann wrote the Nachtstücke under extremely stressful circumstances while in Vienna, having recently heard of the imminent death of his older brother Eduard, which could have meant economic disaster to the family's publishing business. In a letter to his fiancée Clara he wrote, "Wouldn’t you leave me if I were now to become a very poor man”. Because of the premonitions of his brother's death, he wanted to call his new composition Corpse Fantasia."I always saw funeral processions, coffins, unhappy and despairing people….. Often I was so distraught that tears flowed and I didn’t know why, then Eduard's wife Therese's letter arrived and I knew why”. Schumann left Vienna for Germany, one day before his brother would die, missing the funeral. He wrote to Clara: "Half past three on Saturday morning, while traveling, I heard a chorale of trombones—it was the moment Eduard died. "Without you I long ago would have been where he is now”. Schumann eventually heeded the advice of Clara concerning the title of the work: "The public won’t understand what you mean. I think you should settle for the Night pieces".