Alisa Weilerstein returns to the San Francisco Symphony, for some Romantic Schumann this week. Tonight through Saturday, Pablo Heras-Casado will guest conduct a program that has symphonies by Mozart and Dvorak on either side of what Weilerstein calls “the most Romantic cello concerto that exists.”
There’s more information about the concerts at the San Francisco Symphony website.
Not performed until after Schumann’s death, the cello concerto mirrors the storminess and changeability of his final years. “I would be hard pressed actually to find any work of Schumann’s where you don’t feel this inner conflict and angst,” says Weilerstein. “Even when the cello has this very searing, long lyrical melody there’s always this kind of… agitation in the orchestra. It’s not a nervousness, really, but it’s just a perpetual rhythm underneath it that gives it this thickness and multi-dimensional kind of character.” She describes the one-movement work this way: “It’s extremely personal, and very vulnerable, and so lyrical. It’s characterized by this yearning lyricism, and kind of nostalgic lyricism all the time, and so it’s an extremely romantic kind of music… Very typical of Schumann, it’s very capricious, and modulations [and] the moods can shift very suddenly… before you know what’s happening.”