Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor Op. 54
Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto was not always a concerto: in 1841 the composer produced a Fantaisie in a-minor for piano and orchestra, which later evolved into the first movement of his Piano Concerto, which was completed 4 years later in 1845. Even though the original Fantaisie has disappeared from the repertoire, and the second and third movement of the concerto was composed a little bit later than the first, Schumann’s chief concern is the inter-movement unity: he ties the three movements together beautifully. The Schumann Piano Concerto goes against the grain of the then-prevailing view that the concerto should be a vehicle for virtuosic display: Schumann’s work is nearly symphonic in nature. Franz Liszt, in fact, referred to the piece as a “concerto without piano.” The Schumann Piano Concerto was premiered on New Year’s Day, 1846 by the composer’s wife, Clara Schumann.