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CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54 (1845) [30:08]
Introduction and Allegro for piano and orchestra Op.134 (1853) [13:23]
Konzertstück for piano and orchestra in F major Op.86 (1849) [17:42]
Introduction and Allegro Appassionato for piano and orchestra Op.92 (1849) [15:34]
Gerhard Oppitz (piano)
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Marc Andreae
rec. June-July 2010, Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-Saal
TUDOR SACD 7181 [77:11]

CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54 (1845) [29:56]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No.9 in E flat, K271 Jeunehomme (1777) [30:40]
Sophie Pacini (piano)
German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate/Radoslaw Szulc
rec. August 2011, Philharmonie Ludwigshafen
ONYX 4088 [60:40]

Experience Classicsonline


There are two very different performance of Schumann’s Concerto here, by artists of different background, ages and temperaments. There are similarities of sorts given that both are performed with somewhat lesser known German orchestras — though they play well, and the Bamberg has a long and distinguished track record, as it were, on disc.
Gerhard Oppitz, now nearing sixty, plays with a certain expressive nonchalance. There is considerable clarity and fine chording, judicious pedalling and altogether a rather unruffled, somewhat withdrawn approach. His tempi are conventional but unlingering and his rubati well calibrated, with a degree of latitude that is duly ‘paid back’. There’s certainly a quotient of ‘grazioso’ in the orchestral life generated by Marc Andreae, though there’s a rather downplayed sense of anticipation leading to the joyful release of the finale. Patrician reserve is the rule.
The young Sophie Pacini, born in 1991, is rather more outgoing, as one might expect. She prefers to explore the limpid poetry embedded in the music and adds a decidedly powerful battery of rubatos, yet with no lack of energy and commanding chording when required. Again she doesn’t play with too much pedal, and drives through the first movement cadenza. Her lovingly phrased slow movement contrasts with Oppitz’s more princely aloofness, and she doesn’t over-press the finale, which is to the good. This leaves two very different performances, one an architecturally sagacious journey but one not overladen with romantic gesture (Oppitz) and a more by-the-minute approach which perhaps lacks Oppitz’s long term gaols but possesses much incident and rich expression.
Pacini ventures to Mozart for her filler, a suitably youthful and buoyant account of the Jeunehomme concerto which is warmly textured and very ably partnered by Radoslaw Szulc who directs the German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate. Oppitz mines more Schumann and profitably so. Possibly because the Introduction and Allegro for piano and orchestra Op.134 is considerably less well known than the Concerto he plays this with a degree more intimacy; there’s fine and passionate declamation too. The Konzertstück for piano and orchestra in F major Op.86 is a transcription of the work for four horns and it makes quite a startling impression for piano. It certainly sounds pianistic, and there’s a degree of pathos in the central panel. Oppitz and Andreae catch the dreamy landscape of the Introduction and Allegro Appassionato for piano and orchestra Op.92 which, when its brass-led vitality is unleashed, generates confident brio.
A recommendation here is difficult, as these performances of the Concerto occupy different aesthetic positions. Neither really hits an unqualified level, but both display much thoughtful musicality.
Jonathan Woolf




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