<< -- 3 -- Jennifer Paull A SLEEPING BEAUTY
Although Joachim and Clara Schumann had originally been appreciative
of Schumann's work, Joachim made the comment that he 'could not
help feeling a certain fatigue' in the music. He had rehearsed it only
once (January 1854) in Schumann's presence, in Hanover.
Four years earlier in 1850, Schumann had been appointed as musical director
in Düsseldorf, the last position he was to hold. Sadly, it only appeared
to worsen his condition. However, it was because of organisational problems,
not rejection, that his Violin Concerto did not receive its first
performance in that city.
Writing later about the Hanover rehearsal to a Schumann already confined
to an asylum, Joachim recalled, 'Do you remember how you laughed
when we were saying that the last movement sounded like a grandiose polonaise
interpreted by Kociusko and Sobiesky?' Schumann had previously described
his work as '... the reflection of a conscious seriousness from behind
which, glimpses of happiness often pierce through'.
After his death, Joachim and Clara appear to have completely reviewed
their opinion. It is worth noting that Joachim was a composer himself, and
wrote three violin concertos. Could one claim that as a soloist, he became
spoiled for choice by the sheer volume of great works dedicated to him over
the years? Did he influence Clara, or did she sway him in their initial
decision to keep the concerto hidden? Why did they never review or amend
their shared point of view? Did even the young Joachim, a mere twenty-two
years old at the time Schumann completed the work, imagine that it was his
due to influence a composer considerably in the writing of the solo line?
Did he esteem his own input and satisfaction to be necessary elements of
the concerto's validity? This had obviously not been the case with
Schumann, because of the latter's mental illness. Was it simply youth
that made Joachim arrogant? Whatever their true reasons, Joachim and Clara
maintained their unforgiving rejection all their lives.
During the late 1850s, a favourable Clara had tried to place the concerto
for publication. At Schumann's death, however, she and Joachim sat
together in negative judgement upon it. She now chose to withhold the work,
deeming it to be musically inadequate. The Violin Concerto was thus
sentenced to a century without publication from the date of Schumann's
death (1856). Clara was to die forty years later in 1896 without ever having
changed her mind. Joachim too, never relented during the twelve years that
still remained to him.
Copyright © 1 March 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: SUSUMU HIRADE -
SCHUMANN VIOLIN CONCERTO DISCOGRAPHY
JENNIFER PAULL'S AMORIS INTERNATIONAL