Schumann – Overture, Scherzo and Finale (hr-Sinfonieorchester and Järvi)

Conducted by the Estonian-born American conductor Paavo Järvi, hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) plays Robert Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo and Finale (German: Ouverture, Scherzo und Finale) in E major, opus 52, a work for symphony orchestra written in 1841. The German composer originally considered the piece as his second symphony.

The work is in three movements:

  1. An overture (Andante con moto in E minor – Allegro in E major and 2:2 time) (sketched and completed in April 1841)
  2. A scherzo (Tempo: Vivo), in 6:8 time and in C# minor, whose theme is based on that of the overture. It has a trio section in D♭ major, in contrasting 2:4 time whose material reappears as the coda of the movement.
  3. Finale (Allegro molto vivace) (orchestrated around May 1841)

The word “scherzo,” meaning “I joke,” “I jest,” or “I play” in Italian, is related to the same-root verb: scherzare (“to joke”. “to jest”; “to play”). A scherzo (plural scherzos or scherzi), in western classical music, is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The precise definition has varied over the years, but scherzo often refers to a movement that replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or string quartet. Scherzo also frequently refers to a fast-moving humorous composition that may or may not be part of a larger work.

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