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Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7A (1835) [20'56];
Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17b (1846) [27'37];
Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22c (1853) [8'58].
Veronica Jochum (piano); bColin Carr (cello);
aBamberg Symphony Orchestra/Joseph Silverstein (bcviolin).
rec. 6-8 Jan 1988 (no venue given). DDD.
TUDOR MUSIQUE OBLIGE 788 [57'58]

The Naxos coupling of Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto (with Francesco Nicolosi) and Piano Trio was a MusicWeb 'Recording of the Month' review. Now along comes this Tudor offering, providing strong competition and there’s an extra work thrown in.

Veronica Jochum - yes, his daughter - is a more than able pianist. She has the advantage of a well-respected orchestra behind her which brings drama and a brisk approach to the opening. The recording has a fine depth but someone was perhaps a little too lavish with the reverb, I would suggest. If Jochum's entry is on the pedestrian side, one soon warms to her more sensitive side - excellent voicing throughout. She shines in the Romanze, a truly interior statement despite the faster tempo than the Naxos offering. Note the solo cello - rather wiry on the Naxos - is much better here, entering into real duet with the soloist. The finale (Allegro non troppo) is taken at its tempo giusto; it just feels right. Jochum reveals a real sense of fantasy here, too.

Both discs include the 1846 Trio. Tudor's recording is excellent, revealing a real sense of space. The three players radiate spontaneity. Again, each movement is faster on Tudor but, importantly, there is never any sense of rushing. Rather, the work unfolds naturally with a real sense of give-and-take from the players. The Tudor account's tempo for the Scherzo (Tempo di menuetto) seems to sit precisely in between the tempo of a stately minuet and that of a more impetuous scherzo, and is remarkably effective for it. Jochum, Silverstein and Carr display supreme delicacy. To their credit, the third movement is far closer to the stipulated Andante than the Naxos team provide - who err towards Adagio, yet there is no loss of emotive depth. Pure affection characterises the finale, the inviting warmth of the opening saying it all.

The final piece is the Three Romances for violin and piano, Op. 22; an interesting opus number, as the booklet claims Clara only wrote 21 opuses! - this just after claiming the Piano Trio and the Romances are both Op. 17! The first, an Andante molto, seems initially to be more questing than any music heard so far. It settles to an easier flow, expressively given here by Silverstein and Jochum. There is an attractive light touch to the central Allegretto before a rather unsettled finale - marked Leidenschaftlich, schnell - closes the disc most effectively.

So, which to choose?. Ideally, own both the Naxos and the Tudor if you can as there is no doubting the strength of Nicolosi's advocacy on the former. Yet there is the bonus of an extra piece on the Tudor, plus a finer orchestra for the concerto ...

Colin Clarke

 

 



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