Papillons for solo piano
Piano Sonata in D major op. 10 Nr. 3
Piano Sonata in C sharp minor op. 27 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor
For András Schiff, Robert Schumann’s Papillons are “a key work of German Romanticism”: short pieces “of the most varied type and expressivity” which “chameleon-like” change their “sound and mode of expression”. Similar to the piano cycle completed in 1832, it was not form but musical expression that was also of central importance for Schumann in his Piano Sonata in F sharp minor opus 11: “Form is not something I think of any more when I compose; I just do it,” as the composer said.
The fact that Schumann, in the case of this “Davidsbündler-Florestan Sonata”, envisioned nothing commonplace, is already hinted at in the key, which was described by contemporaries as having a dark and passionate expression. As everyone knows, Schumann was not only a brilliant composer for the piano but also an equally gifted composer of songs – someone who could “make [the instrument] sing like no other” (András Schiff).
Robert Holl, one of the most sought-after interpreters of lieder of our time, has chosen Schumann’s Kerner-Lieder op. 35 for the first concert in the Schiff & Friends series, in which the mystical soul of nature is as much a theme as the exhilarating romanticism of hiking and the drinking of wine. With the Sechs Gedichte nach Nikolaus Lenau op. 90 from 1850, the programme includes probably the most melancholy of Schumann’s song cycles, finishing with a Requiem, written by the composer in memory of the poet who died on 22 August 1850.