Kreisleriana, Op. 16, is a composition in eight movements by Robert Schumann for solo piano, subtitled Phantasien für das Pianoforte. It was written in only four days in April 1838 and revised in 1852. The work was dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, but when a copy was sent to the Polish composer, “he commented favorably only on the design of the title page”. Kreisleriana is a very dramatic work and is considered to be one of Schumann’s finest compositions. Schumann himself often called it his favourite work.
The work’s title, and possibly the basis for a depiction of psychological music-drama, was inspired by the character of Johannes Kreisler from works of E. T. A. Hoffmann. Like the kaleidoscopic Kreisler, each number has multiple contrasting sections, resembling the imaginary musician’s manic-depression, and recalling Florestan and Eusebius, the two imaginary characters of Schumann’s inner vision (representing his impulsive and dreamy sides, respectively). Johannes Kreisler appears in three books by Hoffmann, most notably in the Kreisleriana section of Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier, published in 1814.