Robert Schumann’s concert overture, composed in the spring of 1841, was intended as the opening of a suite or ‘symphonette’, but ultimately – complemented with a scherzo and a finale – it became part of a three-movement cycle. It was revised several times, gaining its final form in 1845. Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor – a late work from 1850 – was not performed during the composer’s lifetime, and its first performance (1860) aroused controversy over its extravagant form. It also failed to meet the expectations of virtuosos, as the showstopping passages are merely sporadic (although the work is technically demanding). It was not really appreciated until the twentieth century.
Written at the initiative of Léonid Massine – an ex-dancer with Diaghilev’s company and artistic director of the Ballet russe de Monte Carlo – was a ‘dance legend’ about St Francis (1938), the music for which was composed by Paul Hindemith. The composer later used that music to create the popular three-part suite Nobilissima Visione, employing far greater forces than in the ballet.
Metacosmos, by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, was written to com- mission for the New York Philharmonic Society and first performed in 2018. Accord- ing to the composer, this work ‘is constructed around the natural balance between beauty and chaos – how elements can come together in (seemingly) utter chaos to create a unified, structured whole’.