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Schumann’s Piano Concerto

The remarkable Sir András Schiff sprinkles fantasy and magic as he performs the most romantic of piano concertos. Schumann's only concerto for his own instrument is inspired by his wife Clara's supernatural virtuosity. Conjured up alongside is Felix Mendelssohn's impish music for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
London, Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall £15 - £64 (Premium £85)

General booking for this event will open in October 2024.

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Konzerstück (Introduction and Allegro appassionato) for Piano and Orchestra
FELIX MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night’s Dream (excerpts)
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto

Sir András Schiff fortepiano / director

This project is supported by Mark & Rosamund Williams

Robert Schumann embodied the ‘Romantic spirit of its era’. A hand injury in 1830 had cut short Robert’s dream of being a virtuoso pianist. He continued to write music that was full of ‘joy, torment, and fantasy’. His works encapsulated his life and were a testament to his life-long dedication to his wife Clara, a virtuoso pianist, who became Robert’s musical voice.

Robert’s only Piano Concerto started as a single-movement Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. The final version that we hear today is the result of Clara’s encouragement to ‘try his hand at larger-scale forms’. The concerto is characterised by a thematic unity achieved through the marriage between the piano passages and the orchestra. Showcasing his passion through its intensity and vibrancy, the music contains messages hidden to the audience, conveying an enigmatic sense of inspiration that only Clara truly understood.

Felix Mendelssohn transports us to another fantasy world with his incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, inspired by his nostalgic love of Shakespeare. Its perfectly magical opening chords evoke the paranormal suspense of the forest, followed by busy motifs summoning dancing fairies…

Part of Southbank Centre Season 2024/25.

"Don’t take it amiss if I tell you that I’ve been seized by the desire to encourage you to write for orchestra. Your imagination and your spirit are too great for the weak piano."
Clara's letter to Robert on 7 January 1839