Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto started life as a Concert-Fantasy in 1841, the year after his marriage to Clara, which he described as “something between a symphony, a concerto and a large sonata”.
In 1845 Schumann composed a Concert-Rondo in A Major, and it was then that Clara pointed out that the addition of a third, central movement would provide a full concerto. With great skill Schumann grafted in a delightful Intermezzo whose closing bars look back to the main theme of the first movement before looking forwards towards the finale.
The Piano Concerto in A Minor is held together by a pervading sense of joyful high spirits that surges through the work from beginning to end, quite remarkable when you consider the length of time over which it was composed and the alarming deterioration of Schumann’s physical and mental condition that would eventually overtake the composer, leading to a suicide attempt and eventual death in an asylum.
The work was premiered on 1 January 1846, with Clara at the keyboard.
Hear Martin Roscoe perform this joyful work with the Brighton Phil under the baton of Barry Wordsworth, on Sunday 26 March at Brighton Dome. Tickets from £12-£37 available from Brighton Dome Ticket Office (01273) 709709 or www.brightondome.org