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


Bax Piano Music


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 Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 [28:25]
Humoreske, Op. 20 [27:47]
Arabeske, Op. 18 [6:29]
Toccata, Op. 7 [5:24]
Kinderszenen, Op. 15 [18:09]
Novelletten, Op. 21 [50:46]
Ada Gorbunova (piano)
rec. 9-10 March and 6-8 June 2014, Yamaha Artists Salon, New York, New York, USA
LP CLASSICS 1007A/B [62:42 + 74:19]

Ada Gorbunova, making her CD debut, has chosen two discs of repertoire by Robert Schumann, an eccentric mixture of his popular hits and more obscure, hard-to-like pieces. Disc 2, for example, combines one of Schumann’s most beloved works, the Kinderszenen, with one of his least-recorded, the 50-minute-long set of Novelletten. Gorbunova calls Schumann “my composer” and is so devoted to him that she visited his childhood home in Zwickau, an experience she writes about touchingly in the album notes.

The performances are, on the whole, fine but not among the most expressive. Gorbunova has a wide expressive range, capable of tender softness in the Fantasiestücke and ambitious drive in the Toccata. Indeed, I think Fantasiestücke is the double album’s biggest success. She does, it’s true, lack the superlative poetic skill found in artists like Murray Perahia. More recently, Nelson Goerner and Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy slow the Toccata down enough, and find enough dynamic variation within, to make real music out of it. Parts of Kinderszenen are particularly wooden or plainspoken here but Gorbunova does understand Schumann: his conflicted nature, his turns of mood, his inner melodist.

I’d like to be more enthusiastic but the sound quality is a problem. Gorbunova uses a Yamaha piano, which is not at all what I prefer; Yamahas, to me, often sound too bright, too cold and a bit inexpressive. On top of that, the engineering removes some colour from the playing. To be clear, the sound is not bad: it’s acceptable, just not state-of-the-art. Gorbunova is probably a more exciting artist live.

So, while there is good Schumann playing here, it is not great, and neither is the sound. Collectors may be interested in hearing Gorbunova’s traversals of the rarer works, although for another exciting recording of Noveletten in another pianist’s debut recording, try Kotaro Fukuma’s sublime recital on Naxos 8.557668. Fukuma brings out more variety in this huge suite, with crisper articulation, sharper rhythms and a more colourful piano.

I’m afraid that, despite such good intentions, this double album is mainly for those pianophiles who are enthusiastic about the Yamaha keyboard sound.

Brian Reinhart



 

 



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