One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 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

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Works - Volume 3

Novellette, Op. 21 (Book IV) No. 8 (1838) [11:57]
Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6 (1837, rev ed 1850) [36:13]
Novellette, Op. 21 (Book I) No. 2 (1838) [6:34]
Abegg Variations Op. 1 (1829-30) [8:56]
Variationen über ein eigenes Theme (Geistervariationen) [11:54]
Imogen Cooper (piano)
rec. 2014, Concert Hall, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, UK.
CHANDOS CHAN10874 [75:51]

Imogen Cooper follows her previous two excellent recordings of Schumann’s piano music for Chandos (Volume 1 and Volume 2), with what is arguably the finest recording so far. This is not just because this is the first to solely present the music of Robert Schumann, but also because it contains my favourite work.

The disc opens with a strong and persuasive performance of the last of the Op. 21 Novellette, one which rivals the best accounts. It is a shame that Cooper only includes two of the eight, as on this evidence she makes a fine argument for the set to make a welcome return to the active Romantic repertoire.

This is followed by my favourite of all Schumann’s piano works, the Davidsbündlertänze. First composed in 1837 after a reconciliation with Clara Wieck, it represents a series of 18 ‘character pieces’ in the form of dances divided into books of 9 which the composer revised in 1850. It is this revised edition that is performed here. The individual pieces include depictions of his beloved Clara as well as of his alter egos, Florestan and Eusebius, who he even credited with writing the dances in the first edition. Here Cooper is excellent in the way that she seemingly effortlessly brings out every nuance switching from the more exuberant music of Florestan to the more dreamy pieces by Eusebius with apparent ease. This is arguably the finest modern recording of this work.

The final two works on this disc are in the form of a theme and variations. Firstly, his Thème sur le nom Abegg varié pour le pianoforte Op. 1. What an op. 1, although if truth be told, by the time of its composition, Schumann had already written quite a lot of music, including another set of variations for two pianos. Whilst the work , I am told, is popular with professional and amateur pianists alike due to its apparent lack of technical challenges, it still takes a lot to make it sound as good as it does here. This early set of variations is tempered with what is believed to be one of the composer’s final works, the Geistervariationen or Ghost Variations, the name coming from Schumann’s assertion that he was given the theme by the angel or spirit that visited him during his stay in the mental hospital. This work is performed with great feeling and eloquence by Cooper, a fitting end to an exceptional recording.

Throughout Imogen Cooper proves to be a wonderful interpreter of Schumann’s music, I only hope that there are more recordings of his music to follow by this artist. Excellent recorded sound and booklet essay add to your enjoyment of this fine disc.

Stuart Sillitoe

 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 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
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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger