Fantasy Pieces examines from several vantage points a vital life-force of Robert Schumann's music, namely metrical conflict. Harald Krebs's imaginative yet rigorous study makes use of Schumann's fascinating projections of his own personality-the characters Florestan and Eusebius-as one means of addressing the biographical and aesthetic context of the music. In counterpoint with the remarks of these personae, Krebs develops an original theory of metrical conflict by adapting the concepts of consonance and dissonance to metrical analysis. He investigates how states of metrical dissonance arise, and shows how they are manipulated and resolved in the course of compositions. He offers new methods for understanding the metrical progressions of entire works or movements, and studies the interaction of metrical conflict with form, with pitch structure, and with the texts of Schumann's vocal works. Krebs includes a wealth of illustrations from the whole range of Schumann's work and offers numerous insights important for performance.
In the final chapter, he provides richly detailed studies of pieces by Schumann in various genres, interspersing them with shorter discussions of music by Berlioz, Chopin, Clara Schumann, Ives, and Schoenberg. This is a book that will appeal not only to students and scholars of music theory, but to all musicians interested in the life, work, and unique personality of Robert Schumann.