Robert Schumann‘s Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23 was his only violin concerto and one of his last significant compositions, and one that remained unknown to all but a very small circle for more than 80 years after it was written.
The work is in three movements:
- In kräftigem, nicht zu schnellem Tempo (D minor)
- Langsam (B-flat major)
- Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell (D major)
The concerto is in the traditional three-movement quick-slow-quick form. It belongs less to the poetic and passionate style of Schumann’s early masterpieces than to the more objective, classical manner of his later music, as ushered in by the ‘Rhenish’ Symphony of 1850. Certainly the opening movement, which is in sonata form, is conceived more on symphonic than concertante lines. Its powerful opening subject dominates the proceedings, and although the violin’s role is extremely taxing, its subordination to a ‘symphonic’ scheme is emphasized by the fact that there is no cadenza. The second movement, in B flat, has the character of an intensely lyrical intermezzo, and passes without pause into a vigorous and dance-like sonata-rondo finale in the parallel major, D major. An unusual feature of the third movement is its strong polonaise rhythm.
- Daniel Dumitrescu – Robert Schumann and the Piano Concerto (soundartabstraction.wordpress.com)
- Frank Peter Zimmermann on his return to Brahms (scotsman.com)