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Schumann, Clara (née Wieck) (1819-1896)

4 Pièces Caractéristiques


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General Information

Composer: Clara Schumann née Wieck

Title of the Publication: 4 Pièces Caractéristiques

Opus: 5

Composition Year: 1835

Edition Type: Urtext

Edition Number: FE011

Editor: Martijn Vromans

Languages of the Text: English, German, French, and Spanish

Paper: A4 Clairefontaine 120 gsm cream paper

Binding: Black steel wire binding

Pages/Format: Total 28 pages (1 full colour portrait, 3 pages introduction, 2 pages critical commentary, 20 pages music)

Weight: 150 g

Difficulty Level: 8/10

Also Included In:

  • FD011 (download)
  • FE007 (anthology)
  • FD007 (anthology download)


In 1836, Clara Schumann performed the 4 Pièces Caractéristiques for Frédéric Chopin, eliciting such admiration from him that he obtained a copy for his own collection. The suite embodies an imaginative, sometimes slightly bizarre atmosphere filled with vivid imagery and unexpected turns.

The three lively movements (the Sabbat, the Caprice à la Boléro, and the Hexentanz) are characterized by pointed rhythms, sharp accents, and a somewhat demonic atmosphere. With their meditative and ethereal nature, the Romance and the intermediary part of the Caprice serve as a pleasing contrast.

About the Music

Rich in Imagination: The playful virtuosity of these mildly demonic compositions is unmistakable. A cycle that starts with a Sabbath and ends with a Witches’ Dance promises delightful playability.

Virtuosity: Clara Schumann wields virtuosity to animate the textures of the music, which alternates between aggressive, demonic, and lyrical expressions.

Lyrical Richness: From the beautiful central part in the Caprice à la Boléro, featuring a luxuriant accompaniment texture, to the contemplative Romance characterized by its subtle chromaticism and meticulous polyphony, this cycle distinguishes itself in lyrical wealth and expressiveness.

About the Composer

Even in the 19th century, a period brimming with some of the greatest pianists to ever grace the stage, Clara Schumann stands uniquely tall as perhaps the foremost among them. Often merely cast as the muse of her husband, Robert Schumann, she delivered unparalleled achievements, not just as a trailblazing pianist but also as a composer. From the moment she published her Opus 2 at the very early age of 12, she began to leave behind a compositional legacy. These works, while early, are by no means immature: they are the creations of a fully-fledged composer, marked by a remarkable emotional richness and playful virtuosity.


  • Portrait
  • Introduction (English, German, French or Spanish)
  • 4 Pièces Caractéristiques, Op. 5
  • Critical Commentary (English, German, French or Spanish)
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  • Premium Editions

    Our paper editions are pleasing to the eye: gorgeous and heavy cream paper produced in an environmentally friendly manner. We print our albums ourselves and use pigmented ink instead of toner. Due to the ink soaking into the paper, a beautiful print is created. All our albums are bound with a steel binding spine, so the albums last a long time and stand perfectly flat on the piano.