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

Romance Variée


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General Information

Composer: Clara Schumann née Wieck

Title of the Publication: Romance Variée

Opus: 3

Composition Year: 1831 (Publication in 1833)

Edition Type: Urtext

Edition Number: FE009

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 20 pages (1 full colour portrait, 3 pages introduction, 1 page critical commentary, 9 pages music)

Weight: 100 g

Difficulty Level: 8/10

Also Included In:

  • FD009 (download)
  • FE007 (anthology)
  • FD007 (anthology download)


Clara Schumann’s Romance Variée, the first of her three sets of variations, marks a significant milestone in her compositional development. This set of variations not only distinguishes itself through the use of sophisticated virtuoso techniques for thematic transformation but also symbolises her profound personal and artistic relationship with Robert Schumann. The theme of the Romanza finds its echo in both Clara’s Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, dedicated to the last birthday they celebrated together, and Robert’s Impromptus on a Theme by Clara Wieck, Opus 5. Furthermore, Robert weaves the motif from measure 120 into several of his works, including the 3rd Sonata, making this melody a leitmotif within their shared musical language.

The composition itself commences with a concise introduction of five measures, followed by a Romanza culminating in a cadenza. This leads into a series of variations that not only showcase Clara’s technical prowess but also her capability for deep musical introspection and emotional expression. Although the variations demonstrate remarkable virtuosity, they transcend mere virtuoso pieces. They reveal a mature understanding of thematic development and musical expression, elevating Romance Variée into a rich and emotionally charged work. This makes the composition not just a challenge for the performing virtuoso but also an enriching experience for the listener, who is taken on a journey through the complex emotional and musical landscapes so masterfully crafted by Clara Schumann.

About the Music

Original Theme: Clara composed the attractive theme of these variations herself. The theme is a fully-fledged miniature composition, not just an easily accessible theme developed to extract the most effect from the variations.

Emotional Depth: The Romance Variée explores a wide range of emotions, from exuberant joy to melancholy.

Technical Virtuosity: The Variations, especially the cadenzas, allow the pianist to fully utilize their technical skills. Schumann employs large leaps, hand crossings, and various complex figurations that leave a deep impression on the audience.

Narrative Structure: The Variations exhibit a clear structural build-up with a carefully constructed arc of tension. Following the introduction, the Romanza, and the impressive cadenza, the initial variations provide momentum and tension, followed by melancholy and rhythmic variety leading to a distinct mood shift. Ending with a final cadenza, the work concludes as expected: grand and compelling.

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)
  • Romance Variée, Op. 3
  • Critical Commentary (English, German, French or Spanish)
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    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.