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Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 #2133198
08/15/13 08:04 AM
08/15/13 08:04 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
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fnork Offline OP
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fnork  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
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Helsinki, Finland
"As a present [for Claras birthday] Robert had given Clara not only a new grand piano, but had placed on top of it the manuscript of his new Introduction and Concert-Allegro, Op 134. Her joy was boundless. The short introduction opens with pizzicato chords in the orchestra, interrupted by the piano with a lyrical theme in triple metre that will reappear in the Allegro with an extra beat added. In the Allegro, a new theme is introduced by the pianist which is of a tenderness that only Schumann could produce. An extended cadenza takes up almost a quarter of the entire piece and is a wonderful rhapsody on the material already presented. The first performances were given by Clara in Holland (Utrecht, The Hague, Amsterdam) in November–December 1853 with Robert conducting. Less than three months later Robert tried to commit suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine and was subsequently placed in the asylum at Endenich. Clara was not allowed to visit him; but Brahms went, and during one of his visits in February 1855 Schumann wrote in his notebook that Op 134 was to be dedicated to him. Brahms wrote to Clara: ‘You know quite well what delight your husband has given me in dedicating this particular work to me. This and the Violin Fantasy [Op 131] are the concertos of his which I love the most.’ After her husband’s death the following year Clara no longer performed the piece, but Brahms did so in Vienna in 1869."


I know it's not the first time I bring up the topic of late Schumann on this forum, but once again - isn't this another surprisingly neglected work? It hardly ever gets programmed in concerts these days, does it? As with other late works by Robert, Clara did not perform them in public and in some cases tried to 'hide' them from the public - apart from the violin concerto which wasn't heard until the early 1900´s, there are five romances for cello and piano that sadly have been lost, perhaps due to Clara, but we will never know. But Brahms championed the work alongside with the Violin Fantasy, and performed the work himself. It's been neglected ever since. Why?

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Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133199
08/15/13 08:08 AM
08/15/13 08:08 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
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fnork Offline OP
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fnork  Offline OP
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The quote was from the liner notes to Angela Hewitt's CD with Schumann works for piano and orchestra. To quote another pianist I also don't particularly enjoy listening to, but that seems to have a word or two to say about Schumann:

"A very special friendship had developed between Brahms and Clara and Robert Schumann from the September day in 1853 when the young man first visited them. He had made a deep impression on the couple as a composer and pianist. Schumann expressed his enthusiasm in an article titled “Neuen Bahnen” published in Die Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik in October. He also dedicated to Brahms the Introduction and Allegro for Piano and Orchestra op.134 which he had recently composed. Shortly afterwards Schumann showed the first signs of a violent derangement by his attempt to commit suicide. He was taken to a mental institution where he died two years later in 1856.

The tragic events in Schumann’s life and the support he gave to Brahms culminating in the dedication of the op.134 work to him had a profound effect on the young composer. It is well known that during this period Brahms composed his first piano concerto under the strong influence of the dramatic events in Schumann’s life. What seems not to have attracted much attention is the fact that there was also a direct inspiration from Schumann’s music and that Brahms first piano concerto is thematically strongly linked to Schumann’s op.134 work. This can be observed in a comparison of the two scores as well as closely listening to the music. Beside the D Minor tonality which is the same in both works, one is amazed to discover that the point of departure of the whole of the Brahms concerto is this last composition of Schumann for piano and orchestra. In each of the three movements of the concerto in the main themes and their development there are many direct quotations from Schumann’s introduction and Allegro.* These quotations take all possible imaginable forms to such an extent that Brahms’ first concerto could be considered to be a set of magnified variations on the main themes and ideas of Schumann’s Introduction and Allegro op.134. It would require the genius of Brahms to create such an original totally Brahmsian work from ingredients which are so typically those of Schumann."

http://www.idilbiret.eu/en/?p=15

Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133201
08/15/13 08:13 AM
08/15/13 08:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,912
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bennevis Online content
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Originally Posted by fnork
"As a present [for Claras birthday] Robert had given Clara not only a new grand piano, but had placed on top of it the manuscript of his new Introduction and Concert-Allegro, Op 134. Her joy was boundless. The short introduction opens with pizzicato chords in the orchestra, interrupted by the piano with a lyrical theme in triple metre that will reappear in the Allegro with an extra beat added. In the Allegro, a new theme is introduced by the pianist which is of a tenderness that only Schumann could produce. An extended cadenza takes up almost a quarter of the entire piece and is a wonderful rhapsody on the material already presented. The first performances were given by Clara in Holland (Utrecht, The Hague, Amsterdam) in November–December 1853 with Robert conducting. Less than three months later Robert tried to commit suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine and was subsequently placed in the asylum at Endenich. Clara was not allowed to visit him; but Brahms went, and during one of his visits in February 1855 Schumann wrote in his notebook that Op 134 was to be dedicated to him. Brahms wrote to Clara: ‘You know quite well what delight your husband has given me in dedicating this particular work to me. This and the Violin Fantasy [Op 131] are the concertos of his which I love the most.’ After her husband’s death the following year Clara no longer performed the piece, but Brahms did so in Vienna in 1869."


I know it's not the first time I bring up the topic of late Schumann on this forum, but once again - isn't this another surprisingly neglected work? It hardly ever gets programmed in concerts these days, does it? As with other late works by Robert, Clara did not perform them in public and in some cases tried to 'hide' them from the public - apart from the violin concerto which wasn't heard until the early 1900´s, there are five romances for cello and piano that sadly have been lost, perhaps due to Clara, but we will never know. But Brahms championed the work alongside with the Violin Fantasy, and performed the work himself. It's been neglected ever since. Why?


I'm not sure it really is as neglected as you say - I've heard it on live BBC broadcasts quite a few times, and there are plenty of recordings, usually coupled with the concerto. The problem is probably its length - about the same as Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1, which is similarly too short to be played by itself (the pianist would feel short-changed grin - and often would play a long encore to make up) without another concertante piece to pair up with.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133213
08/15/13 08:49 AM
08/15/13 08:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
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fnork Offline OP
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fnork  Offline OP
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Helsinki, Finland
You may be right, but frankly I see it programmed very rarely, if ever, in my regions. Recently, a friend of mine got a gig with one of the two concertante works by Schumann, and by accident he learned the wrong one - one week prior to the concert he found out he was supposed to play op 92 and not op 134! So, a busy week of practicing followed. He said he found op 92 much more successful - I'm not convinced it's true yet. Both pieces have their merits, and I think the whole introduction in 134 is very well conceived. Not sure if I have identified any of the links that Idil Biret makes between this piece and the Brahms D minor...except that they're in the same key.

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Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133220
08/15/13 08:58 AM
08/15/13 08:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,807
Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Orange Soda King Offline
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I don't know about outside of America, but with my (probably limited) experience at the orchestra concerts, it seems like concertos of a minimum length maybe just under 20 minutes (such as Liszt, Ravel, Mendelssohn) are preferred over shorter concertante works, such as this one, Africa by Saint-Saens, other piano-orchestra works by Liszt, etc.

Although, I always thought it's interesting that Debussy's Fantasy for piano and orchestra is very neglected; at least, that's how it seems to me. I've never even heard of orchestras around here programming it. Of course, I may just have missed it... I mean, it may not be the greatest piece in the world, but do we only need to perform the same greatest warhorses over and over and over again?

Sadly, many believe so. frown

Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: Orange Soda King] #2133252
08/15/13 09:56 AM
08/15/13 09:56 AM
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guess where in CA and WA
laguna_greg Offline
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Well, the reason the Debussy Fantasy is neglected is that it's just not that good of a piece, and is not representative of the style. Yup, I said it. It's a lot like his younger Ballade - long on transition, some of it rather awkwardly written at that, and short on melody.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
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Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: Orange Soda King] #2133254
08/15/13 10:00 AM
08/15/13 10:00 AM
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bennevis Online content
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King

Although, I always thought it's interesting that Debussy's Fantasy for piano and orchestra is very neglected; at least, that's how it seems to me. I've never even heard of orchestras around here programming it. Of course, I may just have missed it... I mean, it may not be the greatest piece in the world, but do we only need to perform the same greatest warhorses over and over and over again?

Sadly, many believe so. frown


I suppose, apart from its short length (20 minutes), it's not very Debussy-ian sounding, with its hints of Saint-Saëns in the piano writing. Nothing in it to hint at the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune that was to come.

However, I prefer it to R. Strauss's Burleske, which (to my surprise) is rather frequently played, as it's not very Straussian either - and to my mind, too 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing' grin.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133283
08/15/13 10:44 AM
08/15/13 10:44 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 9,373
Pacific Northwest, US.
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argerichfan Offline
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I agree with Bennevis that the Schumann Op 134 is not so neglected on the radio- it makes periodic appearances on my local station, though I have never heard (or heard of) it performed live. Whatever, I've known the piece almost as long as the concerto (which, along with the Tchaikovsky, I am thoroughly tired of) - and that would take me back to 10 or 11!

As for hauling out the Burleske for trashing, well the battle lines are drawn! grin

Strauss was only 19 when he wrote it, and if it is not yet a Heldenleben, I think it a remarkable accomplishment just the same. In some sense it could do with a bit of pruning, but there is nothing I would want to see cut- and the piece really needs time to expand for full effect.

True, the Burleske is fairly frequently recorded, but some of the ones I have heard have been a real mixed bag.


Jason
Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133482
08/15/13 05:19 PM
08/15/13 05:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
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fnork Offline OP
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fnork  Offline OP
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Speakin of recordings though - does anyone know of ANY good recordings of op 134? What I have found on youtube seems a mixed bag so far...seems that rather few of the very famous pianists championed this piece, right?

Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2133497
08/15/13 05:52 PM
08/15/13 05:52 PM
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argerichfan Offline
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^ Best I recall hearing is Murray Perahia on Sony Classical coupled with the Op 92 and 54.


Jason
Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2573636
09/24/16 05:39 PM
09/24/16 05:39 PM
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newport Online content
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Old thread alert!! ha

The Jonathan Biss eBook "Schumann: Under the Influence" brought me here

Angela Hewitt : Schumann Introduction and Concert Allegro 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bk_vILdf_I

And I am surprised to hear the better part of a famous Japanese tune in this work. Sorry I can't quote the tune since I don't know its name. I first heard it during a flight travelling on Japan Airline. Later I heard the tune featured at the end of a poignant Taiwanese coming-of-age movie 冬冬的假期 (A Summer at Grandpa's)。

In the above video, the tune starts at 2:40 and repeated throughout the piece countless times.

Last edited by newport; 09/25/16 03:27 AM.


John
Re: Schumann Introduction and Allegro op. 134 [Re: fnork] #2573914
09/25/16 11:32 PM
09/25/16 11:32 PM
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newport Online content
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I went to the IMDb website for the film and found the reference for the name of the tune. It's a Japanese children's song "Red Dragonfly" or "Akatombo".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLoSvWK9aJ8

Last edited by newport; 09/25/16 11:40 PM.


John

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