Classical Music | Piano Music

Robert Schumann

Allegro in B minor, Op. 8  Play

Milica Jelača Jovanović Piano

Recorded on 12/05/2006, uploaded on 01/08/2009

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Nearly the entire first decade of Schumann's output as a composer was dominated exclusively by the piano. Even so, he approached the piano from a performer's standpoint, often composing virtuosic works that demanded superb skills on the part of the performer. Perhaps, in part, he was following the trends of his time or maybe it was a consequence of his own performing career being suddenly halted after a serious hand injury. Both seem equally possible.

An early virtuosic piece in Schumann's output, composed in 1831, is the Allegro in B minor, op. 8. It was originally conceived as the opening movement to a piano sonata, showing the Schumann did not hesitate to tackle the form championed by the Classicists and Beethoven. However, the piano sonata was never completed, but the Allegro opening movement was published as his opus 8.

The piece opens with a powerful cadenza serving as introduction to the succeeding sonata form and leading into the Allegro proper. The principal theme, permeated with dotted rhythms, appears first in the left hand against arpeggios in the right. Schumann transitions quickly into the second theme in D major. While decidedly more lyrical than its counterpart, the second theme does not fully escape the persistent dotted rhythms. The development begins in the key of A-flat major and concerns itself initially with material heard towards the end of the second theme. The music then wavers between the keys of E major/C-sharp minor and A-flat major before a brilliant passage in B major brings about a return and expansion of the opening cadenza. Remarkably, the recapitulation of the first theme (besides being shortened) as well as the second theme is made in the key of G major. A descending passage in D major closing on an F-sharp brings the music back to the key of B major and the coda. Brilliant arpeggios and energetic dotted rhythms then conclude the virtuosic Allegro.        Joseph DuBose


Allegro in b minor, Op. 8         Robert Schumann 

The virtuosic Allegro in b minor, was originally intended to be the opening movement for a never-completed sonata.  However, the work stands well on its own, representing a much wider assortment of compositional techniques than Schumann had previously attempted.  It was Schumann's first major attempt mastering a more expansive form and it successfully exhibits the integration of virtuosic material into sonata form.  In addition to the many colorful enharmonic modulations throughout the developmental sections, one notable feature of the piece is the transformation from the dark, b-minor opening, to the beautiful, vibrant B-Major ending.    Milica Jelača Jovanović