Cello Concerto, Op. 129

Cello Concerto, Op. 129

Robert Schumann

Gary Hoffman's masterclasses

French 1 h 4 min Cello

Produced by the Saline royale Academy in October 2020 at Arc-et-Senans.

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Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Gary Hoffman’s feedback and comments.

Gary Hoffman

Gary Hoffman

In 1986 when he won the Paris-based Rostropovich International Competition.

Gary Hoffman is one of the most outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility in his distinctive and memorable performances. Born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1956, he studied the cello with Janos Starker. Hoffman gained international fame in 1986 upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris. A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco,  and more. Mr. Hoffman collaborates regularly with such celebrated conductors like André Prévin, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zuckerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Jésus Lopez-Cobos, and James Levine.

He performs on major recital and chamber music series throughout the world, although he spends the majority of his time between Europe and America. He is a frequent guest of string quartets including Emerson, Tokyo, Borromeo, Brentano, and Ysaye. Hoffman is a regular guest of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. Additionally, he has has premiered many concertos (Laurent Petitgirard, Joel Hoffman, Renaud Gagneux, Gil Shohat, Graciane Finzi, Dominique Lemaître, French Premiere of Elliott Carter Cello Concerto, and more). Moreover, he is the guest of main halls such as the Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Kennedy Center, and numerous festivals: Ravinia, La Jolla, Schleswig Holstein, Verbier, Festival International de Colmar, Evian, Prades Festival, Honk Kong International Chamber Music Festival, Storioni, and more.

Gary Hoffman plays and gives masterclasses all over the globe.  He is a close part of the Kronberg Academy family for years, intimately involved in the Academy Masters, the festivals, and the masterclass weeks. In September 2011 he was appointed as Professor at the Musical Chapel in Brussels.

Cello Concerto, Op. 129

Robert Schumann composed this concerto for cello in a short amount of time; only two weeks in the month of October 1850. He had just been named musical director at Düsseldorf. The piece premiered four years after his death, in April 1860, and typically plays a little under half an hour.  

It is played by a cello soloist and a small orchestra and was first performed in Oldenburg by musician Ludwig Ebert. The piece is considered by many to be one of the most mysterious works by Schumann, maybe since it was written late in the composer’s life and because it uses the same themes in different moods in a very hypnotical way. The piece was not an immediate success and was virtually unknown for a while, probably because of the unusual structure of the piece.  

Schumann

Robert Schumann

Born in Zwickau, Saxony (Germany) on June 8, 1810, Robert Schumann was a renowned Romantic composer still celebrated today mainly for his orchestral works and piano compositions. Many of his most famous piano compositions were dedicated to his wife and established pianist, Clara Schumann.

Unlike many composers before him, Schumann did not come from a musical family. Despite this, Robert began learning the piano at an early age at six-years-old. As a teenager, the young musician would become heavily influenced and inspired by Austrian composer Franz Schubert as well as the German poet, Jean Paul Richter. At seventeen, Robert Schumann began composing music that same year.

In 1828, Schumann studied for a few months with famed teacher, Friedrich Wieck — leading to the faithful meeting with Wieck’s daughter Clara. A year later, the young composer left Leipzig for Heidelberg where he composed several waltzes, which were later recycled in his works Papillons (Op. 2). He practiced the piano vigorously until he became a virtuoso pianist. He would return to study with Wieck in Leipzig.

The 1830s was a time for prolific writing and composing for Robert Schumann, where many of his piano pieces were published. They included Papillons, Carnaval, and Études symphonies. Around this period, Clara and Robert would eventually marry.

Robert Schumann would go on to write Davidsbündlertänze, Phantasiestücke, Kinderszenen, Kreisleriana, Arabeske, Novelletten as well as some chamber works — a departure from his usual compositions.

By the 1840s, Robert Schumann’s works lost the magic that they once had earlier in his life. He suffered from mental illness and would have periods of severe depression and anxiety. He lived the rest of his days near Bonn and died in 1856.

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