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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6 [29:09]
Kreisleriana, Op. 16 [26:49]
Eugen Indjic (piano)
rec. 2013, Filharmonia Pomorska, Bydgoszcz, Poland
DUX 1187 [55:58]

Eugen Indjic has been best known, recently, as one of the victims of the Joyce Hatto hoax. Hatto’s widely acclaimed recordings of the Chopin mazurkas were, in fact, made by Indjic, and those very good performances are now available again on the Calliope record label. Indjic has an artistic history which goes back much further than that. He was once the youngest soloist to perform with the Boston Symphony, appearing as a teenager by invitation of Erich Leinsdorf, and his biography boasts of close friendships with Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Alexandre Tansman. Emil Gilels called him “a unique and inspired artist”.

Many years have passed since then, but this CD is evidence that Indjic is still, indeed, “a unique and inspired artist”. Why aren’t more of his recordings widely available? Can Dux continue to remedy this?

This is a fine Schumann recital, consisting of two big suite-style pieces, Davidsbündlertänze and Kreisleriana. Both are early works, both are immediately appealing to the listener, and both present challenges to the performer which go well beyond finger fatigue. These pieces capture Schumann’s bipolar personality well, bounding quickly between his expressive poles of bubbly enthusiasm and deep contemplation.

Indjic is fully capable of this range of expression. He plays this music with a solidity and straightforwardness which call to mind past names like Kempff. Recent pianists like Herbert Schuch and Michael Endres have drawn bigger contrasts, in Kreisleriana, by playing up the sudden dynamic shifts and pushing the music’s bipolar nature to extremes. Personally, I like that style of contrastful performance, but if you are inclined to a more sober experience, Indjic is a great guide. He is especially good in the last few pieces from Davidsbündlertänze. Here the reflective Schumann and thoughtful Indjic are truly kindred spirits.

Dux’s recorded sound is very good, although be warned the standard CD comes in a case that’s usually associated with SACDs. I find it very hard to resist the combination of a very good pianist, an exceptional piano, rich music and state-of-the-art sound. Let’s hope this is the beginning of an extensive collaboration. I want to hear an Eugen Indjic Brahms recital.

Brian Reinhart


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