Schumann wrote these Three Romances in 1849 initially for Oboe (or violin or clarinet) with Piano. His efforts were not tied to a commission or request by a prominent soloist of the day, unlike other examples in the genre from Weber, Spohr, and others of that era. Thus, they are not overtly challenging pieces.
The first piece, marked Nicht schnell (Not quickly), presents a lovely theme on the bassoon, supported by imaginative accompaniment on piano. The mood is tranquil throughout.
That description might also apply to the second piece, marked Einfach, innig (Simply, ardently), but for a somewhat tense middle section. All three pieces are very similar in the character of their main themes: each, in fact, is songful and might have served the voice just as well as the bassoon.
The third piece is the liveliest of the trio. Marked Nicht schnell, it is also the most rugged and colorful-sounding one in its main theme. There is more than a hint of Brahms here, a composer who was just beginning to make his mark. The middle section is lovely, similar in character to the opening melodies of the first two pieces. The piano accompaniment is deftly wrought throughout, never overwhelming the bassoon, yet always making its supportive presence felt.
These Three Romances were first published in 1851.
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