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Henselt, Adolf von (1814-1889)

Poème d'Amour


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General Information

Composer: Adolf von Henselt

Title of the Publication: Poème d’Amour

Opus: 3

Composition Year: 1838 (first edition)

Edition Type: Urtext

Edition Number: FE003

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: 34 pages (1 page with a full colour portrait, 2 pages introduction, 1 page critical source commentary, 25 pages containing music)

Weight: 170 g

Difficulty Level: 7/10

Also Included In:

  • FD003 (download)
  • FE001 (collected album)
  • FD001 (collected album download)


Henselt’s “Poème d’Amour,” subtitled Andante et Allegro Concertante, is a three-part etude that Henselt composed for Rosalie Vogel. Rosalie Vogel was the wife of the physician who treated Henselt during his nervous breakdown. She divorced Dr. Vogel to marry Henselt, and it was for her that Henselt wrote this love poem.

Following a heartwarming Andante, there comes an engaging melody, accompanied by solemn chords in a typically Russian accompaniment. After the satisfying climax, one of Henselt’s most successful moments occurs when he has the same melody accompanied by a large descending figure, played with both hands, creating one of Henselt’s most sublime moments. Because this is notoriously complex, Henselt wrote a simplified version. After six months, he revised the entire work.

In this publication, both versions are included. Since the first version has an alternative, simplified ending, the pianist can choose from no less than three different ways to play the once-famous final part.

About the Music

Romantic Opening: The cantilena melody with arpeggios played by both hands is a trademark of Henselt. For every pianist, this is an opportunity to showcase a lyrical, round tone.

Passionate Middle Section: In the middle section, the melody undergoes a transformation that imparts a more passionate character. This segment reveals a familiar but dynamically enriched texture: each melody note is framed by an underlying bass note, followed by two majestic chords played by both hands.

Affectionate Apotheosis: In the final section, the piece returns to the ethereal beauty of the opening, with the melody now receiving a new accompaniment. Instead of the serene chords that previously enveloped the melody, our ears are filled with feather-light but lightning-fast arpeggios. These are skillfully divided between both hands, creating an effect of floating lightness that propels the piece to a dramatic climax.

About the Composer

In the pantheon of Romantic composers, Adolf von Henselt stands out as the poet of the piano, whose compositions blend virtuosic technique with deep lyrical beauty. His approach to piano composition and performance marked a significant departure from his predecessors, integrating intricate techniques to enhance expressive depth.

Born to a modest Bavarian family in 1814, Henselt's prodigious talent catapulted him into the echelons of European music royalty. His early achievements, buoyed by the support of Ludwig I and mentorship under Johann Hummel, set the stage for a career that would navigate both dazzling success and personal battles, including his struggle with stage fright.

Henselt's move to Russia marked a new chapter, where he shifted focus from performing to teaching, profoundly influencing the Russian piano tradition. Henselt's impact is traced through his students and their successors, such as Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Goldenweiser and Siloti, embedding his approach into the core of Russian pianism. Despite facing obscurity after his death, Henselt's oeuvre has been reevaluated, revealing a composer whose works epitomize the Romantic pursuit of emotional depth and technical perfection, ensuring his place in the annals of music history.


  • Portrait
  • Introduction (English, German, French or Spanish)
  • Poème d'Amour, 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.