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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Albüm Für die Jungend 0p.68/1
Fughetten 0p.126
Carnaval 0p.9
Franz Vorraber (piano)
Recorded in Germany 19.4.2001 (0p.9) 28.1.2002 (0p.68, 0p.126) Venue not specified.
Piano: Bösendorfer
The complete piano works. Vol.6
THOROFON CTH 2518 [63.23]


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Schumann’s Albüm Für die Jungend was inspired by his belief that most music learned in piano lessons was worthless. The first pieces in this Albüm were composed as a present to his eldest daughter on her 7th birthday, but the idea soon mushroomed into a set of 43 pieces in two parts, the first part of which opens Vorraber’s recital on this, the sixth in a thirteen compact disc set of the complete works for solo piano by Robert Schumann.

Each of the eighteen pieces Op.68/1 highlights a particular technical aspect, but Schumann’s poetic genius and love of cryptic allusion is never far from the surface.

Franz Vorraber respectfully rises to the technical challenge presented in each successive miniature, but in his eagerness to underline the poetic and deeper expressive qualities of the music, rubato is occasionally less than judiciously employed. He does however manage to achieve a compelling sense of continuity and purpose and by the time he has concluded the entire set of pieces one is unequivocally won over.

The Fughetten Op.126 represent Schumann’s earnest attempts at imbuing the form with poetry, "where the silver thread of fantasy ever entwines the chain of rule". Vorraber’s studious approach serves the seven Fughetten 0p.126 well, weaving a web of considered intimacy and melancholy.

Vorraber literally tears into the Carnival Op.9, which begins explosively and with the utmost emotional exuberance. In its opening flourishes he announces, without even the slightest hint of ambiguity, a bold interpretation of Schumann’s turbulent but eloquent articulation of the paradox that besets the human spirit.

Carnival, inspired by and composed during the Leipzig Carnival of 1835, reflects the drama of real life, with its inevitable contradictions: the exalted existing side by side with the lowly, albeit disguised. Schumann himself wrote of his Carnival……"I am aware that my Carnival is provocative; the heart of an artist is sometimes a strange thing, and the shrieking dissonances that life delivers are softened by reconciling art, which often clothes pleasure in long, dark veils, so that one may not see them openly."

Vorraber reveals himself to be a pianist for the big occasion and Carnaval benefits from a truly majestic interpretation.

Leon Bosch



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