Heart of the matter: Schumann’s Cello Concerto

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Schumann’s Cello Concerto is often seen as dark and troubled, and its advocates have struggled to bring it the recognition it deserves. Now, Josephine Knight’s discoveries have led to a new edition and recording which shed a fresh light on this work, writes Peter Quantrill

Robert Schumann wrote three concertos, everyone knows that. But only one of them started life in that way, the Violin Concerto, which Schumann wrote for Joseph Joachim while his mental instabilities deepened and his demons circled – in the months before he was finally committed to the asylum at Endenich in March 1854. The Piano Concerto became the three-movement piece we love only in 1845, four years after Schumann had composed his self-contained Fantasy in A minor, when his wife and muse Clara pressed him for two more movements so that she had something substantial of his to present on her programmes as a touring virtuoso…

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