John Lill plays Schumann -
and ROBERT ANDERSON listens
'... manifold subtleties of touch ...'
The first two works on the CD were almost sonatas. Schumann's instinct and natural bent
was towards the fantastic and free, so that even the first movement of the Piano Concerto
began as a 'fantasy'. What settled down as Op 17, with its dedication to Liszt, was conceived
in connection with a fund-raising drive for the Beethoven statue at Bonn. Liszt had been
thundering on the piano for the cause round Europe, and his prodigious efforts were
successful. The young Queen Victoria was at the unveiling, noting in her diary that
Beethoven, characteristically enough, had been revealed with his back to the royal party.
Schumann toyed with different titles for the three movements, wondering about 'Ruins',
'Trophies', 'Palms'. The work was composed during a year of separation from Clara, imposed
by her father. Schumann wrote about the 'Ruins' to her: 'The first movement may well be the
most passionate I have ever composed -- a deep lament for you'
[listen -- track 1, 11:03-12:04].
Copyright © 8 May 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK