Masterclass: Jan Vogler on Schumann’s Fantasiestücke

Jan Vogler

Cellist Jan Vogler discusses how to colour these fantasy pieces using a mixture of technique and imagination

Explore more Masterclasses  like this in The Strad Playing Hub

Read more premium content for subscribers here

I adore Schumann and, of course, that has a lot to do with his magnificent Cello Concerto. But Schumann’s Fantasiestücke are also favourites of mine: they reflect good times in his life and they represent a sanguine side of his personality, very different from his Concerto or Fünf Stücke I’m Volkston. While the extreme expressions and mood swings of those later works are absent here, these three miniatures still contain everything you can express with a cello’s voice within the traditions of the 19th century. The key is in the title: they should be played with fantasy and imagination. First you need to imagine the colours, then you have to figure out how to create them. To convey that through four strings takes technique and skill, and in these pieces that is very demanding.

One of Schumann’s greatest talents was in writing song, and the Fantasiestücke are the most vocal of his cello pieces. If you don’t want to go as far as playing actual songs on the cello – and I know it’s a matter of taste! – then please at least listen to Fritz Wunderlich singing Dichterliebe. He was ready to change anything to make his singing more beautiful. Listening to him will give you inspiration for how to play the Fantasiestücke too. 

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.