Friday 13.9.2019 19.00 Season concert 1, part 2
25/19/11€, Double ticket 40/30/18€ Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021
Friday 13.9.2019 19.00 25/19/11€, Double ticket 40/30/18€ Espoo Cultural Centre
Platinum 2020-2021 Silver 2020-2021

The two opening concerts of the season are purely Romantic. Schumann’s symphonies are heard as close to the original as they can get, with Sir Roger Norrington taking to the podium. The concerts are followed by a programme of chamber music by Clara Schumann, one of the most celebrated pianists of her day, in honour of the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Schumann & Schumann, part 1: Thu 12.9.2019 at 7 pm
Schumann & Schumann, part 2: Fre 13.9.2019 at 7 pm



Robert Schumann

Symphony no. 3 in E flat major op. 97, ‘Rhenish’

In September 1850 Robert and Clara Schumann travelled upriver on a riverboat to Cologne, where Schumann was much impressed particularly by the Gothic-style cathedral. The landscapes around the river and the trip to Cologne sparked an intensive process of creativity in early November 1850, resulting in less than a month in the birth of the Symphony in E flat major, subtitled ‘Rhenish’ or ‘of the Rhine’. This work is numbered as Symphony no. 3, because Schumann revised his earlier Symphony in D minor after completing the Rhenish Symphony, and the revised version is therefore known as Symphony no. 4.

The opening movement is one of Schumann’s most effective and disciplined essays in sonata form. Schumann had a perpetual interest in punchy rhythmic structures, as is evident in the use of syncopation in the expansive main subject to create a superimposition of two kinds of triple time – known as a hemiola, a device also favoured by Brahms. The second movement is a Scherzo, not of the Beethovenian dynamic kind but more like a Ländler folk dance; Schumann originally intended to title this movement ‘Morning on the Rhine’.

The symphony has two slow movements, very different in character. The first one is a lyrical intermezzo, while the second one is solemn and woven in a gleaming tapestry of counterpoint. This is one of the most impressive pieces of music that Schumann ever wrote, and its working title ‘In the character of an accompaniment to a solemn ceremony’ refers to an actual ceremony that Schumann witnessed at Cologne Cathedral. In contrast to the gravitas of this movement, the Finale is lucid and carefree; it has been described as being like stepping into bright sunlight out of the penumbra of the vaulted cathedral.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Robert Schumann

Symphony no. 4 in D minor op. 120

Schumann’s first symphony, the ‘Spring Symphony’, was written in just one month, being completed in February of that year. In May, he completed a work of almost equally symphonic proportions – Overture, Scherzo and Finale – and in September he completed a second symphony. However, this Symphony in D minor was received with mixed reviews at its premiere in Leipzig in December, and Schumann lost interest in the work and shelved it for a decade.

In 1851 Schumann returned to the Symphony in D minor and rewrote it, mainly altering the orchestration but also making some changes to the musical content. Although this Symphony was the second one that Schumann wrote, it is now known as Symphony no. 4 because of the order in which the symphonies were published, the revised version of the Symphony in D minor being the last.

Typically for Schumann, the Symphony in D minor pulsates with the warmth of emotion. It opens with a striking sombre introduction out of which the Allegro section bursts forth. A brief motif that is presented towards the end of the introduction ends up generating the material of the entire movement, although new material is, rather surprisingly, introduced in the development section. There is no recapitulation as such; the music flows directly into a culminating coda.

The slow movement, titled ‘Romance’, begins with a melancholy oboe tune, but the motif that opened the introduction to the first movement is the most important element. The Scherzo is heavy on its feet and opens with an inverted version of the same motif, while the melody in the contrasting Trio section is derived from the violin solo in the slow movement. The second appearance of the Trio section blends into the Finale, which begins with an unusual slow introduction that is almost Brucknerian in its majesty. The following fast section takes the work to a triumphant conclusion in a blaze of D major.

Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Aftenglow in Tapiola Hall


Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano
Emil Holmström, piano

Songs of Clara Schumann

Interview with Sir Roger Norrington


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