Schumann Cycle: Concert 2

Dudamel brings the lilting, soaring world of the master’s final two symphonies to life.

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Program

  • SCHUMANN: Genoveva Overture
  • SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto
  • SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4

Artists

  • Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Gustavo Dudamel conductor
  • Sol Gabetta cello

About This Performance

PART OF SCHUMANN CYCLE

 

Although his life was difficult, to say the least, ending prematurely in madness, Robert Schumann nonetheless composed music that elevates us through its pure spirit and unique personal character. Over three weekends, Gustavo Dudamel delves deeply into Schumann’s four symphonies, two greatest concertos, and a rarely heard oratorio, offering us a portrait of the man through his finest creations.

Genoveva was Schumann’s first and only opera; in it he used techniques borrowed from Wagner (who was critical of Schumann’s libretto). Unfortunately, the opera closed after three performances, and criticisms in the press probably discouraged Schumann from writing another opera. Fortunately, we can sample this period in his life by hearing the tragic opera’s overture.

Schumann’s other great concerto, the one for cello, was composed late in his shortened life. Because he never liked receiving applause between movements, he deliberately created connections between the three movements, transitions that are, in fact, appreciated now as striking features of the work. Schuman had once declared that because he couldn’t write a concerto for virtuosos, he must aim at something else. Though he does exploit the cello fully, the soloist’s part generally avoids virtuosity for its own sake. We are happy to have outstanding Argentine cellist Sol Gabetta as our soloist for this exceptionally lyrical work.

Schumann’s Third Symphony, actually the last he composed (completed in the same year as the Cello Concerto), stands out in several ways: it contains five instead of the usual four movements, and that “extra” movement, the fourth, has been described as containing the most extraordinary example of German counterpoint since Bach. In it, Schumann depicts a solemn ceremony inside the breathtaking cathedral of Cologne, which moved him deeply.

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