By Robert Schumann
Composed in 1850
Schumann composed the ‘cello concerto in 1850, just before his third symphony and six years before his untimely death.
He styled it as a “Concert piece for ‘cello with orchestral accompaniment.” It is a three-movement work, although all of the movements are connected and played without break.
After three wind chords, the ‘cello opens with a soaring song-like melody, later echoed by the French Horn and by the winds after the slow movement. The short slow movement is a languorous interlude, featuring a simple solo melody accompanied by a solo orchestral ‘cello, string pizzicati and wind echoes. After a brief transition, with an evocation of the slow movement, the solo ‘cello leads into the quick last movement, which is characterized by a leaping two-note theme followed by rising sixteenth notes. The last-movement cadenza leads inexorably to a fast and joyous conclusion.