During 1837, '38, and '39, Robert Schumann composed over a hundred pieces for piano, ranging from brief, lyrical fragments to multi-movement sonatas and fantasies. (This output, while considerable, was dwarfed by what he did the following year, during which he composed close to 150 songs.) The Davidsbündlertänze (Dances of the Bond of David), composed in 1837, consists of eighteen character pieces, most of them ascribed to one or both of two characters Schumann invented, Florestan and Eusebius, who conduct a kind of dialogue over the course of the suite. A whole world is contained in the thirty-five minutes of this work, a world Schumann wrote about at some length. The Davidsbund, which Schumann invented, was an alliance whose motto was "Act, yet do not organize in provincial fashion, but rather dare to be quite untidy and chaotic"; the alliance was between two opposites. Florestan's pieces are mostly capricious, loud, and lively, with tempo markings like "Ungeduldig" (impatient), "Frisch" (fresh), and "Etwas hahnbüchen" (a little impetuously); Schumann calls him the "romantic idealist, one of those rare musical persons who have long since foreseen all that is to come, is novel and is extraordinary." Eusebius's pieces, by contrast, are largely quiet, lyrical, and gnomic, with tempo markings like "Innig" (intimate), "Nicht schnell mit äußerst starker Empfindung" (not very fast and with very strong feeling), and "Einfach" (simple); Schumann describes him as "equally enraptured and insouciant, enjoys things more seldom but then more slowly and longer; thus also his performance on the pianoforte is more thoughtful but also more tender and mechanically polished than that of Florestan." The sixteenth piece flows into the seventeenth, and together they present an almost heated conversation between the two; the end sounds like the end of the suite. But then, Schumann writes, "Quite redundantly Eusebius added the following; but great happiness shone in his eyes the while." Clearly, Eusebius had the last word with this almost anomalous but very sweet and simple waltz--a compelling conclusion to a suite Schumann described as "dances of death, Saint Vitus's dances, dances of goblins and of graces."