Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major was written while he was in service at Prince Esterházy’s court, which maintained an excellent orchestra, for which Haydn composed both symphonies and also – given that there were many outstanding virtuosos in the ensemble – concert repertoire for various instruments. Displaying plenty of charm and Haydn’s typical lightness of touch, this work belongs to that group, and it was probably intended for the prince’s court cellist, Joseph Weigl.
The numbering of Robert Schumann’s symphonies does not reflect their chronology; the Second is actually the third, written after the Symphony in D minor (published as the Fourth). It was composed in 1845–1846, while Schumann was in a bad frame of mind. Hence this heroic work was perceived as reflecting his turmoil and expressing a sort of musical escapism, faith that his fortunes would turn. The elegiac Adagio espressivo, meanwhile, abounding in beautiful cantilenas, is an example of Schumann’s lyrical, Romantic side. This Symphony was first performed by the orchestra of the Leipzig Gewandhaus under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn on 5 November 1846.
Like his teachers and collaborators Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, Sándor Veress wrote music inspired by folklore. His exuberant Transylvanian Dances gained popularity thanks to the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, who helped Veress during the early years of his post-war emigration in Switzerland.