Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Loesch, Heinz von. “Anlehnung bei Mendelssohn? Zur Konzeption der Virtuosität in Schumanns Cellokonzert.” Jahrbuch des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (2010): 65-82.

When Robert Schumann was composing his Cello Concerto, Op. 129, Emil Bockmühl, the cellist who later premiered the piece, made suggestions for revisions to the composer, occasionally invoking Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Op. 64, as a point of reference. Although Schumann ignored virtually all of Bockmühl’s recommendations—ultimately creating an unidiomatic and cumbersome solo cello part when compared to the violin solo of Mendelssohn’s Op. 64—the noticeable similarities between the two concertos indicate that Schumann was clearly thinking of his colleague’s earlier work when composing his Cello Concerto. In both pieces, the solo parts feature numerous cantabile melodies and frequently take advantage of the instruments’ higher registers, while the openings of the outer movements are strikingly similar. Despite these broader parallels, the two works are conceptually very different. Whereas Mendelssohn’s concerto highlights the soloist and exploits the violin’s capabilities, the cello solo of Schumann’s piece rarely features such bravura, even in the cadenza. Instead, Schumann’s concerto downplays the prominence of the solo part and integrates it into the orchestra to a far greater degree than does Mendelssohn, almost inverting the genre’s traditional hierarchy between soloist and accompaniment. Additionally, Schumann’s concerto is far more musically integrated, with thematic connections across movements and a greater overall coherence of motivic material throughout the work .

Works: Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129.

Sources: Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64.

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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