> Robert Schumann - Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 [KS]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Sonata Number 1 in f sharp minor, Opus 11.
Piano Sonata Number 3 in f minor, Opus 14 (Concerto without orchestra)
Bernd Glemser, piano
Recorded at the Radio Concert Hall, Lugano, Switzerland, 22-24 March 1997. DDD
NAXOS 8.554275 [65í09"]


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Schumannís 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 spare.

In this splendid account of Schumannís 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 cantabile.

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 offing.

This is fine playing indeed, and a worthy addition to any collection.

Kevin Sutton

Also see review by Tony Haywood

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