Schumann’s piano sonatas, although daunting and large,
seem to me to succeed better than those of his equally famous contemporary,
Franz Schubert. Whereas Schubert could take a fine idea and run it into
the ground, Schumann keeps his flights of fancy to a minimum, giving
us well-paced, melodically interesting movements with virtuosity to
In this splendid account of Schumann’s musical love
letters to his wife, Clara, Bernd Glemser proves himself to be one of
the finest pianists of his generation. Fleet of finger, he reels off
passagework with effortless ease, and can also produce some gorgeous
Of the two works presented here, I was most enamored
of the earlier opus 11 sonata. The opening introduction is as lovely
as any lied, and Mr. Glemser balances emotion with control beautifully.
Never is there any over-ripe virtuosity for its own sake, rather everything
is in order here, with Glemser being in total control at all times.
Naxos have now given us at least three pianists (Glemser,
Jeno Jando, and Idil Biret) whose international concert careers will
hopefully benefit from their superb recordings. Having already made
several discs for Naxos, one can only hope that there is more in the
This is fine playing indeed, and a worthy addition
to any collection.
Also see review
by Tony Haywood