One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Kinderszenen, Op. 15 [20:24]
Abegg Variations, Op. 1 [8:22]
Fantasie in C, Op. 17 [32:02]
Lise de la Salle (piano)
rec. December 2013, Sendesaal Bremen, Germany
NAÏVE V5364 [60:48]

Lise de la Salle, born in 1988, arrived on the recording scene as a flashy teenager with youthful fire. Now she seems to have matured hastily, into a senior citizen. That’s both a compliment and not. Her interpretations are poetic, soft-edged, slow and very pretty, but sometimes this crosses the line into preciousness and tedium. The faster bits of Kinderszenen are well-voiced and admirably clear — the short ride of the hobby-horse is brilliant — and the tenth section, “Almost too serious,” definitely works. However “Träumerei” and “The poet speaks” are far too self-conscious about their own beauty. Michael Endres, Wilhelm Kempff and Annie Fischer are pianists who achieve the same aw-shucks lyrical polish without overdoing it.
 
The Fantasie in C, Op. 17, my favourite work of all Schumann, has this issue too, but not the way you’d expect. I thought the third movement would be reduced to a crawl, but no, it’s actually rather fast. It’s the first movement that sometimes gets bogged down, and not by slowness, but by clunky, bland phrasing of some of the more difficult, mysterious passages of the development. The central march is full of energy and oompah-enthusiasm, but its midsection plays like a nocturne and the return to march tempo is rather awkwardly handled. If Ms de la Salle is reading this then I would ask her to listen to the recent Joaquín Achucarro CD (La Dolce Volta) to hear how a performance that’s high on contrast can also be riveting start to finish.
 
The Abegg Variations separate the two big works, and they’re pretty terrific and wittily played, aside from a couple of truly enormous pauses between variations. Before the final coda, the pause stretches so long I actually thought, “I don’t remember the piece ending like that”.
 
I’m of two minds about this release. Lise de la Salle’s heart is in the right place. So are the microphones, by the way; great sound. Her interpretations are well-considered and mature, and she succeeds at everything she wants to achieve but when does much rumination become too much rumination? Is it when “The poet speaks” sounds like Mompou? I think the line is crossed here, not always, but enough that I can’t decide whether to praise this or not. Based on the above description, I hope you can tell if this is your kind of recital. If she records this music again in ten years, the results might be well worth the wait.
 
Brian Reinhart