From 1845 onwards, Schumann was driven by an ardent desire to surpass himself, which led him to produce works at a frantic pace. From then on, he composed large-scale choral and orchestral works (Genoveva, Manfred, Requiem für Mignon, Scenes from Goethe's Faust, symphonies 2 to 4), as well as all of his seven concertante works. The Piano Concerto in A minor is by far the most accomplished of these productions. It stems from a Fantasy for piano and orchestra that Schumann composed in 1841 for his wife, Clara. Four years later, the composer added a Finale, and then a slow movement, since his publishers considered a concerto in three movements easier to market than a simple Allegro. The Concerto op. 54 is dedicated to the pianist and composer Ferdinand Hiller, who became one of Schumann's close friends in 1845. It was Clara Schumann, however, who triumphantly premiered the concerto on New Year's Day 1846 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. After the concert, she was delighted and claimed that the work was "a gift from Above". Schumann began composing this concerto after having studied Bach's works to "strengthen" his own style. The Cantor’s formal rigour does not, however, show through in this concerto, which doesn't boast any ostensible virtuosity either. According to Schumann himself, the work is at the crossroads of the symphony, the concerto and the grand sonata.