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R. Schumann: Cello Concerto

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: rough mental waters ahead…

Until the final two years of his life, things were going quite well for the Schumanns. In 1850, they had moved to Düsseldorf, where Robert became municipal music director. This incredibly productive produced the cello concerto of 1850. A progressive work for its genre, the concerto limited flashy showiness in favor of complex dialogue between solo and orchestra. Schumann went so far as to write his own cadenza, lest it be mauled by unimaginative improvisers! It was in this period that the Schumanns met young Johannes Brahms. Schumann was deeply impressed by the young man, and actively promoted Brahms’s career. Unfortunately, this happiness was not to last—in early 1854, plagued by auditory hallucinations, Schumann checked into the asylum where he would die in 1846.

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