Warmly and sympathetically
recorded this all-Schumann recital is
one of lyric generosity. Zimmermann
proves yet again that she is a violist
of the highest gifts and Höll demonstrates,
as if we didnít already know, that he
is not simply a "singerís accompanist"
(a distinction Albert Sammons once made
between Gerald Moore and Ernest Lush)
but an all-round musician of judgement
and finesse. Together they reveal the
glints and shadows of this music, most
of it viola-arranged (only Märchenbilder
was originally written for the instrument)
that flourishes on taut melodic direction.
The Fantasiestücke Op.73 were written
for clarinet, the Adagio and Allegro
for horn, the Romanzen Op.94 for oboe
and the Sonata Op 105 for violin.
We can hear the level
of communicative expression this duo
can generate in the Adagio and Allegro.
In the latter the viola is very occasionally
covered by the piano but whilst the
balance may be slightly misjudged (the
recording set up may have something
to do with it) the rapport is strong.
When it comes to the Fantasiestücke
the third is particularly graceful and
full of affectionate lift. Itís this
characteristic that strikes me about
their partnership; take the Allegretto
of the Sonata where their sense of lightness
and elfin charm is pronounced. The vibrato
is fined down and the music is drawn
not so fleetly that there isnít time
to phrase naturally. And in the Märchenbilder
we can appreciate the dynamic gradients
and sense of subtle tension imparted
to the second (Lebhaft) and the "balance"
between themes that these two musicians
take such care to judge. Passagework
is clear in the third (Rasch) and the
last is a particularly interior affair
with very dampened dynamics from Höll
and a sense of prescient introspection.
This is an accomplished
recital Ė poetic and reflective, lissom
and alert. Maybe the acoustic smudges
things here and there, as Iíve suggested
earlier, but nothing really damaging
occurs. Certainly nothing to distract
pleasure from these assured and splendid