The Novelletten, Op. 21, is a set of 8 pieces for solo piano, written by Robert Schumann in 1838.
The Novelletten were composed during February 1838, a period of great struggle for the composer. Schumann originally intended the eight pieces to be performed together as a group however they are often performed separately with great success.
This set of pieces is an excellent example of Schumann's keyboard style.
No. 1 in F major
This piece contains 7 sections, alternating between a staccato march and flowing legato passages. The piece is a modified Rondo form.
No. 2 in D major
This virtuosic piece is graceful and effective. An Intermezzo section in the middle contrasts and varies the piece.
No. 3 in D major
This piece displays the composer's sense of humour through the use of rapid staccato chords. An Intermezzo section in the middle of the piece is used to contrast.
No. 4 in D major
This piece is quite loosely organized in terms of structure however it is an interesting waltz that used cross-rhythms and syncopation effectively.
No. 5 in D major
This piece is in the form of a polonaise; its principal section contains three main ideas which are then overcome by the persistent rhythms of the Trio section.
No. 6 in A major
This piece uses an increasing tempo to characterize the progression of sections. Starting from the staccato opening, each of the following passages are marked a few metronome beats faster until the coda, which returns to the original tempo.
No. 7 in E major
This piece features a beautiful and lyrical middle section; it also features many virtuosic passages containing fast, brilliant octaves.
No. 8 in F sharp minor
The concluding piece of the set, is actually two pieces in one. The first part is a passionate etude in 2/4, the second has the nature of a march.