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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

The Promenade Ticket

During the current BBC Prom season
we're looking back to
A.H. Sidgwick's memories of
Edwardian summer evenings spent at the
Queen's Hall, Langham Place


This week: Schumann's Piano Concerto
dedicated to Ferdinand Hiller
City Kapellmeister of Cologne, 1850-84

which Leif Ove Andsnes will be playing next Wednesday August 11th


'Tuesday 16th October. The pressure of overdue Concertos is so great that Schumann tonight invaded the precincts of Tuesday, generally sacred to the moderns. But the Schumann Concerto, like the perfect lady, is at home anywhere. Henry [a friend] calls it chamber-music, and professes to despise it: but why should the poor piano be always fighting for its life against an insurgent orchestra in full blast? A Pianoforte Concerto is a Concerto for the Pianoforte; and I like to hear the instrument at its ease, with the orchestra as obedient subordinates and supporters. If you want a death-struggle, you can wait for the Emperor... Tonight we had balmy peace, with the piano in unquestioned command. Schumann is one of the people who get badly treated in these concerts. I suppose, as Henry says, he was not much of an orchestrator, and we have no room for pure piano-pieces or (apparently) for really good songs. Consequently we only get the Traumerei from time to time - and that in an orchestrated version: the Concerto now and then; and very rarely a symphony. It is a pity, because he was a good man and a poet - an unusual combination. I am still unable to grasp the passage [in the finale] written in three-time, which is really in two-time, and to look at the beat makes me sick. But, heard with shut eyes, it is very pleasant, like all the rest of this work.'

- A.H. Sidgwick, The Promenade Ticket: a Lay Record of Concert-going, London 1914

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