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Robert Schumann

The Fünf Stücke im Volkston (Five Pieces in the Popular Style) were written by Schumann in 1849, the same year he composed the Three Romances for oboe and piano, Op. 94, and Fantasiestücke, for clarinet and piano, Op. 73. These three collections have much in common: not only did Schumann allow for substitutions for the lead instrument in all of them, but none are difficult to perform, being designed primarily for amateur musicians of good caliber. In addition, all the various pieces are tuneful and almost completely devoid of any conflict. If there is one word to best describe the character of the Volkston pieces, it might be mellow. All are melodically appealing and exude a tranquility throughout. The middle three may be slightly more appealing, with number three being especially lovely in its rich Romanticism, both in the cello and piano writing. The second has a pastoral sweetness, while the fourth starts off in a most lively and joyous mood, then yields to a mesmerizing melody. All these pieces are worthwhile, with Schumann's deft imagination never failing to enchant. These pieces were first published in 1851.