Goethe's Faust is one of the highest peaks of German Romantic poetry, and fascinated composers across Europe: Berlioz, Liszt and Gounod were just some of the many entranced by its visionary power. Schumann too set what he called "Scenes from Goethe's Faust, but he made a point of selecting excerpts rather than using a libretto, focusing more on Part 2 of the play. The result is a work of astonishing passion, which includes some of the most dramatic music Schumann ever wrote, and some of the most beautiful as well, embracing elements of oratorio, opera, song and orchestral poem. Antoni Wit's recording has been acclaimed for "tempos which flow with unforced naturalness and real excitement".
The name of Martha Argerich on any label always means fire, and so it is here. She and Gidon Kremer play with quite exceptional urgency and temperament, and the bright, clear recording brings up both instruments with a sheen. In fact the music springs at you with such immediacy that anyone previously of the opinion that Schumann was showing signs of tiredness in these latish works will be compelled to think again.
The historical-performance movement has extended its reach into much of the 19th century, but this is the world-premiere recording of Robert Schumann's trios on historical instruments. Actually only the piano dates from Schumann's lifetime, but it's especially the violin and cello that differ markedly from their contemporary counterparts with their gut strings. The result is a pair of Schumann chamber music performances of a quieter cast than the common run, yet also moody and full of strong affect and characterization.
The exceptional and unaffected Martha Argerich gives here a spellbinding performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto.
Japanese-British pianist Mitsuko Uchida continues to impress with recordings that are not so much intellectual as simply well thought out, making a challenging yet extremely satisfying overall impression. Consider the three works by Robert Schumann recorded here. Only the Waldszenen, Op. 82 (Forest Scenes), are well known. The Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22, is an early but not immature work, composed in 1830 and supplied with a new finale in 1838 at the suggestion of Clara Schumann, who pointed out that while she could play the original version, few others would be able to.