Kinderszenen, Op. 15
(Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, [1839?])
Although some of the movements in Kinderszenen (“Scenes from Childhood”) make only modest technical demands, Schumann explained to a friend that this music was intended as an adult’s reflections on childhood, and not designed with young pianists in mind. (In contrast, a decade later Schumann did in fact compose his Album für die Jugend specifically for pedagogical use; in fact, it began with pieces he wrote for his daughter Marie.) Kinderszenen combines sophisticated compositional techniques with a certain self-conscious naiveté. It is designed as a unified cycle, with prominent motivic links among the movements, but one of these movements has taken on a life of its own: “Träumerei” (“Reverie”), which features a simple but unforgettable melody, has been a favorite of pianists ranging from near-beginners to Vladimir Horowitz. It often appears in anthologies of greatest hits from the classics.
This score belonged to the American composer Ernest Trow Carter (1866–1953), whose personal papers are also at Yale.