In September 1850, Robert Schumann and his wife Clara left Dresden for Dusseldorf, where the composer succeeded Ferdinand Hiller as the municipal music director. In addition to conducting subscription concerts, Schumann's duties included church concerts, private lessons and setting up a chamber music society. This increased activity seems to have had a very positive effect on his composition. Within a short time, Schumann had written his Scenes from Goethe's Faust, the "Rhenish" Symphony, numerous songs and his Cello Concerto.
The latter is one of Schumann's seven concertante works, almost all of which were written during the musician's last creative period. Schumann was particularly fond of the cello (which he had played himself a little in the 1830s), as several of his chamber music pieces testify. However, he was never completely satisfied with his Cello Concerto, which he composed in just two weeks in the autumn of 1850. He made some changes to it four years later when he was already beginning to lose his sanity.As a result, the work wasn't premièred (by Ludwig Ebert) until four years after the composer's death. As a result, the work wasn't premiered (by Ludwig Ebert) until four years after the composer's death.
Because the concerto's three movements are played without interruption, the work is sometimes described as having a continuous structure. Schumann himself referred to the piece as a « Konzertstück » (concert piece), preferring freedom of expression to pure virtuosity. Nevertheless, the third movement, the only one with a cadenza (with orchestral accompaniment), draws extensively on the cello's technical resources.