Maria João Pires “shapes and colours every phrase, and with immaculate taste, and she makes sure the phrases end as eloquently as they begin,” wrote Gramophone in 1974. “She conveys not just the details but the relevance of every note to the whole … Best of all, she communicates everything she has discovered about the music, and it is worth having.” This Portuguese pupil of Wilhelm Kempff, Pires was one of the artists who defined the Erato label in the 1970s and 1980s. This 5-CD box gathers together the recordings she made over the period from 1976 to 1985 and it reflects the consistent focus of her repertoire, with its special emphasis on Austro-German composers of the Classical and early-Romantic periods. Embracing solo works, piano duets and concertos, it contains works by Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, but also by Bach and Chopin.
Deutsche Grammophon has another excellent Schumann Concerto in its catalog, the Pollini/Abbado, with the Berlin Philharmonic, coupled with a good but not great Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Not surprisingly, Pollini is more muscular and evenly balanced in the Schumann, even if he is, as usual, a bit straitlaced. Pires is always the sensitive and probing artist, or so it seems. Here, she is alert from the opening descending chords to the expressive potential in every bar. She puts much more thinking and feeling in her interpretation than Pollini and most others I've heard.
ALthough not very famous, Jeno Jando is a marvelous pianist. He combines lyrical beaty with power and emotion. Both of these attributes are evident in this disc, which contains the piano concertos of Grieg and Schumann, both in the key of a-minor. In Grieg's concerto, Jando creates a perfect balance between Lisztian virtuosity and Grieg's own Norweigan nationalism. The Schumann concerto is my favorite piece on the album, and Schumann's raw emotion comes out perfectly in Jando's interpretation. A word should also be said for the wonderful orchestration of these pieces. This is a wonderful CD both to introduce these romantic piano concertos and to offer a wonderful interpretation of them.
Seemingly on an impulse, Robert Schumann wrote his Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, during two weeks in 1850, heading towards the last years of lucidity and life. Schumann may never have heard it played as the concerto did not premiere until seven months after his death. On this disc we have the opportunity of hearing not only the Cello Concerto but three other pieces written for cello and piano, the Adagio and Allegro perhaps being the most well known..
A 19th-century ‘trio sonata’. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov have already given us an acclaimed version Brahms’s First Violin Sonata, in 2007. They now complete the cycle with the other two sonatas of 1886 and 1888, and add a fascinating rarity dating from 35 years earlier: the ‘F-A-E’ Sonata, a collaborative effort by three composers in honour of the great violinist Joachim, who had to guess who had written which movement! He did so with ease, for the Scherzo is as eminently Brahmsian as the Intermezzo and Finale are Schumannesque. Alexander Melnikov will be contributing his take on a score his mother gave him that belonged to Sviatoslav Richter in September BBC Music Magazine.
This is Volume 1 in Imogen Cooper’s new series on Chandos Records, dedicated to the complete works for piano by Robert Schumann. Recognised worldwide as a pianist of virtuosity and poetic poise, Imogen Cooper has established a reputation as one of the finest interpreters of the classical and romantic repertoire. She has dazzled audiences and orchestras throughout her distinguished career, bringing to the concert platform a unique musical understanding and lyrical quality.
Clara Schumann's presence in the history of European music has become firmly fixed in recent years: the many new biographies, editions, recordings and performances of her compositions testimony to her significance and influence. Her songs, not as well known as her works for piano, are among the treasures of her creative work and can take their place with the best of the German Lieder repertoire.
Winner of Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros, this set brings together Robert Schumann's complete works for solo piano. This great cycle benefited from having been recorded in the unique acoustics of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by the same recording engineer, Jean-Marc Laisné.
In the autumn of 1851 Schumann composed, in rapid succession, the two violin sonatas and, in the space of just seven days from 2 to 9 October, the Piano Trio no.3, Op.110. As always during his work, Schumann was oblivious to everything around him, neglected social obligations, and isolated himself – even from Clara. ‘Robert is working very assiduously on a trio for piano, violin, and cello,’ she confided to her diary, ‘but he won’t let me hear anything of it until he has quite finished it – all I know is that it’s in G minor.’