One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56)
Albumblätter, Op.124 (1832-45) [30:39]
Variations sur un étude de Chopin, Anhang F26 (c1835) [5:29]
Kreisleriana, Op.16 (1838) [37:25]
Daniel Levy (piano)
rec. Rosslyn Chapel, London 2016
EDELWEISS EDEM3385 [74:00]

This is the first in a projected series of Schumann recordings by the Argentine-born Daniel Levy. The well-known Kreisleriana is the main attraction, but two less familiar compositions are equally welcome, especially the Chopin Variations – a work which is missing from most (if not all) CD boxes of the complete Schumann piano music.

Levy has a formidable technique which is used to serve his musical integrity, and a generous singing tone. There is nothing flashy here and, more importantly, one feels his natural understanding of Schumann's idiom. The magnificent Kreisleriana, one of Schumann's very greatest works, begins powerfully, the complex, turbulent character of the first piece approached fearlessly. Generally Levy is on top of this immensely demanding group of eight “fantasies” (Schumann's sub-title), but occasionally – in the slower pieces such as Nos. 3 and 4 - the dream-world becomes a little soporific. The essential sense of fantasy may be equally well conveyed at relatively flowing tempi. Of the various versions I have, not all those by today's most admired pianists are consistently convincing. From the previous generations, Wilhelm Kempff does prove my point in his beautiful simplicity and a kind of self-effacing understatement which is deeply impressive. Nevertheless, unfair comparisons aside, Levy gives a very satisfying performance on his own terms. To pick out small details which I would query – from bar 5 onwards in the fifth piece, the accented notes on the second beat are a little heavy for pianissimo and are less effectively sustained rather than released early. In the seventh piece (Sehr rasch) Levy's admirable impetuosity entails some sacrifice in clarity. Again, the end of the same piece – a surprising change of mood to a kind of chorale – could have been simpler. As a general observation I notice an occasional slight heaviness or over-emphasis – a rather Brahmsian weight.

The Albumblätter, most of them between one minute and two-and-a-half minutes long, are relatively neglected. Five of these pieces date from as early as 1832 (the year of Papillons, Opus 2) and thus contribute to what Joan Chissell has described as “a salvage operation”. Like many of Schumann's lesser-known groups of pieces, they are full of characteristic charm, surprises and eccentricities. No.9, for instance, is rhythmically weird, while No.19 – delightfully played – has disorientating syncopation. For those concerned by such things, it must be said that Levy does not play all repeats. In No.10 the differences between mezzo forte, forte and fortissimo are a little underplayed and No.13 would, I feel, have benefited from a simpler approach. No.16 is one of the longer pieces, Mendelssohnian in spirit, and here Levy draws out the end a shade too much – but these personal quibbles do not seriously detract from the rewarding overall impression of this performance and indeed the entire CD.

Chopin's Nocturne in G minor, Op.15 No.3 was published in 1834, but the date of Schumann's variations is uncertain, believed to be some time between autumn 1835 and the following spring. This work (Anhang F26) was discovered in incomplete form and some scholars have surmised that Schumann probably would have added more variations. Gerd Neuhaus has made small editorial corrections and rounded off the final existing variation. There are not many recordings available and the work is very rarely played in recital, so this new version is especially welcome.

Strangely, the variations' title is printed as “sur an étude de Chopin” in three different places.

Philip Borg-Wheeler



Advertising on

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: 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
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger