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Jens Peter Maintz, Schumann, Cello Concerto

Sequence published on 4/13/21
Composer : Robert Schumann
Year of composition : 1850
Artistic period : 19th century
Musical category : Concerto
Academy : Academy Apr. 11 - Apr. 18, 2021
Master(s) : Jens Peter Maintz
Student : Flora Csoke
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"Beauty of tone is an important basic requirement to play beautifully, but it's not enough to portray all the emotional layers of this piece so adequately." Jens Peter Maintz

About the Cello class of Jens Peter Maintz on the Concerto pour violoncelle

Masterclass violoncelle Jens Peter Maintz Schumann concerto

During this class the master highlights a peculiar characteristic of this movement, referring to a topic that has been discussed a lot. It is known - and much has been written about it - that Schumann was emotionally unstable, constantly oscillating between happier states and more sad and darker states. According to the master, this movement represents its most luminous states. Based on this, the student must work on expression and color.

“The lyrical, springtime, in-love world. And that's very beautiful because you have this tenderness in your tone”. The master praises the student's performance, and then makes an observation taking into account the fact that the character changes in the repetitions: “when making a declaration of love, you can be a little shy the first time, a little braver the second time". Constantly, the master makes assessments that point to the character of the music, “That's this springtime spirit (…) Jumping. Rejoice”, and the technical indications (which are many, and include vibrato, accents, modulations, intonation, harmony, relationship with the orchestral instruments, bowing, fingering, etc.) will be destined to work on this fundamental issue. 

What we learn in this Cello Master class

- The correct use and different types of vibrato
- The trill is not an external virtuosity, but a spirit
- When playing the cello, the shoulders must be down and the head up
- This is exciting, not introverted
- The variety of colors
- It´s a piece with an incredible amount of positive energy 
- The articulation has to be flexible
- There must be a lot of contrast
- It's a very good thing if the bow sticks to the side, but not all the time.
- Some fragments, should be played as if the cellist had to carry the whole orchestra along.

About Robert Schumann's work

Robert Schumann, Cello concerto, First movement Schumann’s wife Clara, also a highly accomplished composer and musician, commented enthusiastically about the cello concerto in her diary: “I have played Robert’s Violoncello Concerto through again, thus giving myself a truly musical and happy hour.
The Romantic quality, the vivacity, the freshness, and humor, also the highly interesting interweaving of violoncello and orchestra are indeed wholly ravishing, and what euphony and deep feeling one finds in all the melodic passages!”. Schumann titled his work ""Concertstueck fur Violoncell mit Begleitung des Orchesters"" (Concertpiece for Violoncello with orchestral accompaniment). By titling the work as a more intimate concert piece rather than as a concerto (Konzert), Schumann departed from previous conventional approaches to the concerto form, hinting at the innovative structure and harmonies found in this romantic work.
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