The BIRMINGHAM STUDIO AUGMENTED
(Leader, FRANK CANTELL)
Conducted by JOSEPH LEWIS
OF Schumann's works in the larger forms, far the finest were composed in the years from 1841 to 1843. Towards the end of 1840, as listeners willremember, he and Clara Wieck yere happily married, after long suspense and many difficulties in the course of which Schumann had actually to go to law with his prospective bride's father. His warm-hearted admiration for his wife's gifts as a pianist, her devotion to the works which he wrote for her to play, acted and reacted on each other with the happiest results for the whole world of music.
The first movement of this Concerto was composed in 1841, intended at first to stand alone as a Fantaisie. Four years later, the other two movements were added to complete the Concerto as we know it now.
The first movement begins with a striking passage for the solo instrument, immediately after which the principal tune appears on the wind instruments, to be repeated by the pianoforte. Strictly speaking, the movement has no main second tune, but the beautiful melody which does duty for it will easily be recognized as the fiddles play it on their lowest strings. There are other melodies, obviously derived from these, and towards the end there is a brilliant Cadenza for the soloist.
The second movement, an Intermezzo, begins with a delicate dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra, and there follows a broad, flowing melody played first by violoncellos, then by clarinets. The dialogue is resumed and the movement passes very naturally into the last movement, which is a Rondo, a movement in which the main tune keeps on coming round again after others have been heard between its appearances. There are a few introductory bars, and then the pianoforte boldly announces the main tune. There are two other themes of importance, one of them of particular interest at the present day, as a forerunner of the way in which the device of syncopation is used in modern dance music. The other is played on its first appearance by the oboe. The whole movement is brilliant, and comes to an end with vigorous octave passages for the solo instrument.
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