<< -- 5 -- Jennifer Paull A SLEEPING BEAUTY
Although the Nazis managed to block one of her leads to the work's
discovery, for them, this concerto slotted most conveniently into the position
previously allocated to the now forbidden Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
The uncovering of an alternative, romantic work had been fortuitous indeed,
and it was used to enhance National Socialist propaganda.
They prevented Yehudi Menuhin from giving its première in Germany.
In fact, some eighty-four years after having been composed, the Schumann
Violin Concerto received its first performance on 26 November 1937
with Georg Kulenkampff and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Karl
Böhm. The score had been arranged and edited by Georg Schünemann
and Paul Hindemith. Kulenkampff 'revised' this version still further
for his subsequent recording, cutting some of the ritornellos in
the first movement.
The retrospective knowledge of Schumann's mental illness appears
to have afforded several respected musicians, in both centuries, the erroneous
impression that they had been summoned to clip Eusebius' wings. In
today's musical world, enforced silence or editing of a work from a
composer of Schumann's stature would be unthinkable. Would the knowledge
of van Gogh's mental condition be sufficient excuse for an artist of
today to insist and succeed in concealing and retouching one of his original
It is customary to group Schumann with Mendelssohn and Chopin, all three
having being born within eighteen months of one another and being best known
for what has been termed 'refined romanticism'. How many compositions
of the three would be accessible to us today if we retained but those works
of the very greatest creation and technical merit? Undoubtedly, Mendelssohn's
Violin Concerto (1844) is one such, but how happy we are that other
compositions, falling short of some cold, judgmental censorship, are not
discarded and forgotten. After all, absolute consistency in composition
is the marking of a precious few.
Copyright © 1 March 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: SUSUMU HIRADE -
SCHUMANN VIOLIN CONCERTO DISCOGRAPHY
JENNIFER PAULL'S AMORIS INTERNATIONAL