Schumann’s Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18: Fluid Fragments

Robert Schumann’s Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18 for solo piano is dreamy and wistful. Its title evokes the intricate floral patterns of Arab architecture. In this ephemeral music, well-structured classical form is replaced by fluid fragments which combine to form a shimmering whole (Erika Reiman).

The opening bars give us the sense that we are joining music already in progress. The atmosphere is simultaneously tender and majestic. Phrases develop with obsessive repetition and symmetry. The flowing initial melody becomes the main theme of a five-part rondo, which concludes by drifting off into a coda filled with quiet longing. Schumann associated the home key of C major with childlike innocence and simplicity.

The Arabeske was written in the autumn of 1839. At the time, Schumann was attempting to marry Clara Wieck, over her father’s vehement objections. With brief pieces such as the Arabeske, which the composer dismissed, Schumann attempted to earn money to prove his worth.

This recording features the Italian pianist, Maurizio Pollini:


  • Schumann: Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18, Maurizio Pollini Amazon

Featured Image: Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Iran, photograph by Amir Pashaei

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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