Schumann dedicated his piano concerto to Ferdinand Hiller, but it was his
wife Clara Schumann who premiered it on 1 January 1846 in Leipzig, thus
ensuring its overwhelming success. Written after a profound study of the
works of Bach, the piece bears no trace of learned polyphony or complex
counterpoint. It seems to flow effortlessly, without flashy virtuosity or
Beethovenian drama. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most popular piano
concertos in the repertoire.
Following the cycles of orchestral works by Mahler, Beethoven and Brahms,
Unitel chose to honor Robert Schumann in 1984/85 with this cycle performed
by the Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. Schumann's orchestral
works are firmly established in the repertoire of the Vienna Philharmonic.
The glowing, romantic sound of this orchestra and Leonard Bernstein's
expressive interpretation complement each other in an ideal way to produce
a perfect rendering of Schumann's symphonic oeuvre. Schumann's four
symphonies, his piano concerto, the violoncello concerto and the Manfred
Overture have been filmed and recorded in the "Golden Hall" of the Vienna
Musikverein, held to rank acoustically among the world's best halls.
The soloists are Justus Frantz, piano, and the cellist Mischa Maisky.