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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Between technical brilliance and musical substance: Robert Schumann's Piano concerto in A minor, op 54 (1845)
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Philip Graydon
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2012
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Royal Irish Academy of Music
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (191pp.)
Abstract: Robert Schumann (1810-1846), a talented German composer, pianist and highly esteemed critic, composed in many different genres but is perhaps most renowned for his piano works. In the journal the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (which he founded in 1834), Schumann reviewed works by many of the leading composers of the time, including a substantial number of piano concertos. The opening part of this thesis examines Schumann’s findings and highlights his attitude to the genre, as evidenced in his critical writings; however, the main focus is a thorough assessment of Schumann’s desire to create an ‘ideal’ model for the piano concerto, one that would cleverly adopt a close relationship between the soloist and the orchestra in an effort to ‘strike the proper balance between technical brilliance and musical substance.’ It will be argued that Schumann fully realised his aims in the Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 (1845), which is regarded as one of the major concert staples in the entire piano repertory.

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Current Institution Affiliation: Royal Irish Academy of Music

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