WSMR Quarterly Issue Reports - Q1 2020

Evening Masterwork: Schumann’s Cello Concerto

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)

Cello Concerto in a Op. 129 by Robert Schumann

Evening Masterwork for December 30, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

Our evening masterwork tonight is Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto, which kind of has an interesting origin. During the time Schumann was coming of age, it was the era of piano virtuosi, such as Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt, and Schumann actually aspired to be one of those virtuosic concert pianists. So the young pianist rigged up a device that was meant to make him a stronger pianist, but ironically, the device ended up permanently damaging his right hand. Because of this, Schumann resorted to composition as a career… but he also tried out the cello. And while we don’t know how good he got at the cello, it was evidently enough for him to learn how the instrument worked, and he gained a sort of affinity for the instrument.