One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 (1841/45) [31:29]
Introduction und Allegro appassionato for piano and orchestra, Op. 92 (1849)
[15:44]
Introduction and Concert-Allegro, Op. 134 (1853) [14:47]
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Hannu Lintu
rec. 2011, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
HYPERION CDA67885 [62:02]

Of the great Austro-German composers I’ve always considered Robert Schumann the most enigmatic. He died in an asylum and despite his mental health long being the topic of impassioned debate there is no doubting the beauty of his music.
 
The 200th anniversary of Schumann’s birth in 2010 sparked a renewed interest in Schumann’s life and works. That year I can remember interviewing concert pianist John Lill who stated his love for Schumann’s music: “The music of Schumann does show some signs of his unbalanced mental state but Schumann was so great that his music only benefits by it; the irregularity of it. It just shows how versatile a figure he was, what an inspired poet he was.”
 
The first work on this Hyperion release is the enduringly popular Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 composed in 1841/45 — a quintessential work of the Romantic concerto repertoire. Biographer Ronald Taylor (‘Robert Schumann: His Life and Work’ pub. Granada, 1985) writes that the concerto “is held together by a pervasive joyous emotion that surges through the work from beginning to end.” It was Clara Schumann who premièred it in 1845 at Leipzig with the dedicatee Ferdinand Hiller conducting.
 
In the booklet notes to this release Angela Hewitt explains that people don’t seem to want a single movement concerto. I fear this is the case as demonstrated by the relative neglect of both Schumann’s Introduction und Allegro appassionato, Op. 92 and Introduction and Concert-Allegro, Op. 134. Written in 1849 the Introduction und Allegro appassionato was, it seems, sketched in a mere couple of days. Around this time Schumann had become fascinated with the heroic figure and supernatural world of Lord Byron’s dramatic poem Manfred. Clara introduced the work the next year in Leipzig. The final score here, the Introduction and Concert-Allegro was written for Clara in 1853 just prior to meeting the young Brahms.
 
Angela Hewitt is an admirer of Schumann and, as well as these three scores for piano and orchestra, she has in her repertoire a number of his solo piano works. Throughout the recording Hewitt’s strikingly elegant and expressive playing radiates freshness with a legato that feels splendidly judged. The listener has no reason to fear any insensitivity or wilfulness. In the Piano Concerto her playing of the opening movement Allegro affettuoso has real quality; so forthright and fresh. The F major Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso is gloriously warm and lyrical and the exhilarating Finale: Allegro vivace has an authentic sense of drama.
 
Such a steadfast orchestra these days, the excellent Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Hannu Lintu provides persuasive support greatly adding to the success of the recording. The sound quality is excellent with an especially satisfying balance between piano and orchestra.
 
There are numerous recordings of the Schumann Piano Concerto in the catalogue and the competition is bound to be fierce. I have a number of excellent accounts and the present recording is of the same elevated quality. The two accounts that I turn to most were also recorded at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin. The first from 1963 is played so memorably by soloist Géza Anda and the Berliner Philharmoniker under Rafael Kubelik on Deutsche Grammophon. The second, so spontaneous in feel, is from 1986 with Jorge Bolet and the Berlin RSO (the former name of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin) under Riccardo Chailly on Decca.
 
Michael Cookson
 
Previous review: Dominy Clements

Masterwork Index: Schumann piano concerto