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 →  Read, Watch & Listen  →  RNS Sessions: Schumann's Scherzo (From Overture, Scherzo and Finale Op.52) with Duncan Ward

RNS Sessions: Schumann's Scherzo (From Overture, Scherzo and Finale Op.52) with Duncan Ward

Royal Northern Sinfonia perform the ‘Scherzo’ from Robert Schumann’s triple creation, sometimes referred to as Schumann’s ‘second symphony’, or a ‘suite’ – or even a ‘symphonette’. Eventually he allowed each movement’s title to stand alone.

Performed live by Royal Northern Sinfonia, conducted by Duncan Ward, on Friday 4 December 2020 at Sage Gateshead.

About the music

Scholars have never been able to satisfactorily explain why Robert Schumann (1810-1856) didn’t compose a slow movement to accompany his Overture, Scherzo and Finale and call the whole thing a symphony. The year 1841 was to prove a productive one for Schumann as far as orchestral writing was concerned. He’d completed the first movement of his Piano Concerto in A minor and dashed off his Symphony No.1 in B flat by mid-February. In April, he wrote what he called a ‘concert overture’, followed it with a ‘scherzo to the overture’ and shortly afterwards added a movement he termed Finale.
The three movements were first performed at a Gewandhaus concert in Leipzig in December 1841. He revised the orchestration in 1845 and published them as a single entity the year after, remarking to one friend: ‘The whole has a light, friendly character. I wrote it in a really happy mood’.