Author Topic: Schumann solo piano music  (Read 25803 times)

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Offline Holden

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2010, 11:51:32 PM »
Are you sure about this? I have never checked a library to see the actual inches on the shelf, but I would not consider Schumann's piano solo output small.

Good point. I actually based this on my own library space so this might not be a good way for me to assess it. However, I'm sure that Liszt's output well and truly exceeds it and Chopin's does as well. The interesting thing is that Schumann seemed to go off solo piano works quite early on in his composing life. He was prolific up until about Op 26 and it then falls away quite significantly.
Cheers

Holden

Drasko

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2010, 12:34:19 AM »
few I like (thanks for the template, Dave)

Op. 02: Papillons - Freire (live '94)
Op. 06: Davidsbundlertanze - Cortot
Op. 09: Carnaval - Rachmaninov, Michelangeli (live '57 & '73)
Op. 11: Piano Sonata, No.1 - Pollini, Sofronitsky
Op. 12: Fantasiestucke - Rubinstein
Op. 13: Etudes symphoniques - Pogorelich
Op. 15: Kinderszenen - Moiseiwitsch
Op. 16: Kreisleriana - Brand, Neuhaus, Cortot
Op. 17: Fantasie - Sofronitsky (live '59), Egorov
Op. 18: Arabeske - Sofronitsky (live '59)
Op. 20: Humoreske - Feinberg, Horowitz
Op. 22: Piano Sonata, No.2 - Richter
Op. 26: Faschingsschwank aus Wien - Michelangeli (live '68)


Offline mjwal

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2010, 08:24:10 AM »
To reply to Mandryka's question about the late piano works: among the latter I am fascinated by Op. 133, particularly No.1, Im ruhigen Tempo. I have an obscure recording by a harpsichordist (!), Edith Picht-Axenfeld, playing a 1909 Bechstein (aurophon); Andreas Schiff (Warner); and Laurent Cabasso (naive). I actually prefer the first, because she gets more sheer agony and pathos into No.1 than the others. That torment is multiplied a thousandfold in Holliger's Gesänge der Frühe for chorus, orchestra and tape - after Robert Schumann and Friedrich Hölderlin, a work of what might be called recuperation (in a critical sense and an ironic one). One of the great ecm CDs for me, combining this work with Romanzen for cello and piano by Clara Schumann and Holliger's own Romancendres for the same combination.
Coming back to Op.17: I had a session yesterday afternoon and have revised my opinion: I learned to appreciate the Annie Fischer version more deeply, while the Klara Würtz recording develops tremendous power, I find (I think my first listening was rather uninvolved, as happens often with new purchases in my personal listening routine). Part of the reason why I like Fischer best is her amazing ability to produce different timbres from the piano for the different layers Schumann has created, thus the triumphant opening melody sails away with an obsessively muttering percussive bass line down below that sounds more like woodblocks than a piano's lower keys. And so there is a rich counterpoint of Klangfarbe (clangtint, as Adrian Corleonis used to say on Fanfare) which is maintained throughout the work, undercutting any tendency for it to be merely a romantic effusion; this brings me to a competitor for Holliger, in a way: the third performance of Op.17 I listened to knocked my socks off, being an orchestral re-imagination by Hans Zender (on Haenssler), Schumann-Phantasie for large orchestra (1997). You may know his controversial re-imagining of Winterreise - well, this is so OTT as to defy description, but the way it teases out strands of the musical texture by assigning them to different stylistic parameters has to be heard to be believed. (The recording on Haenssler is conducted - brilliantly - by Cambreling, though the second work on the disc is Z.'s own cello concerto Bardo conducted by himself w/Schiff; there is a recording with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie conducted by Z. on Berlin Classics  with Debussy conducted by Boulez and Ravel by Kondrashin - this looks so interesting that I shall get a copy when I return to Berlin in October). This was my best listening afternoon for quite a while.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter

Bulldog

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2010, 09:16:03 AM »
You mean the LP or the CD?

If it's the LP, could you please transfer it beautifully and upload it for me :D I think Moiseiwitsch was good in Schumann -- but the CD of Kreisleriana doesn't do much for me. I've heard the LP is much better.

I would love to hear this  :D

Sorry - it's the Moiseiwitsch cd.

Offline stingo

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2010, 09:59:14 AM »
Serendipity - a friend of mine just mentioned hearing the Schumann romances on the radio, and said she'd add those to her repertoire. Watching (and listening) with interest.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2010, 10:36:39 AM »
There are a handful of recordings of Opus 17 which mean a lot to me.

Sofronitsky’s 1951 Russian Conservatory performance has less than perfect sound. But it doesn’t matter, because for sheer physical, spiritual, technical concentration, for eloquent singing, this is very marvellous. Glorious especially in the extraordinary profoundly dark, shaded Etwas bewegter of II.


Sokolov’s  early LP of Op 17 is very idiosyncratic. Particularly special in III, with pointed rhythms and often rather slow tempos. Idiosyncratic elsewhere too – full of unusual and exciting ideas about the balances of the musical strands. It’s an early recording from Sokolov, but you can tell he is a great pianist.

I also like Pletnev for his gentleness, the way he avoids strong dynamic contrasts. But that’s a reading only for the open minded!

Arrau’s live one on Ermitage – but it is a long time since I heard that one. will listen again this week maybe. Parts have burnt itself on my consciousness – like the coda of II which is particularly free. But I have forgotten how the whole thing coheres  – so who knows if I will still enjoy it?

And Moiseiwitsch -- just for the beauty of tone.


To reply to Mandryka's question about the late piano works: among the latter I am fascinated by Op. 133, particularly No.1, Im ruhigen Tempo.

Yes -- very good.  I heard Andersiewsky play it beautifully a couple of years ago (how time flies!)  I have Brautigham only on CD (not good enough.)

. . . with an obsessively muttering percussive bass line down below that sounds more like woodblocks than a piano's lower keys. And so there is a rich counterpoint of Klangfarbe (clangtint, as Adrian Corleonis used to say on Fanfare) which is maintained throughout the work, undercutting any tendency for it to be merely a romantic effusion . . .

Very interesting, and your line of thought makes me even more keen to hear Op 17 on an old piano.



Op. 20: Humoreske - Feinberg, Horowitz


Is Feinberg on CD in this? I cans ee it's on youtube.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 01:12:03 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Verena

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2010, 12:09:00 PM »
There are a handful of recordings of Opus 17 which mean a lot to me.

Sofronitsky’s 1951 Russian Conservatory performance has less than perfect sound. But it doesn’t matter, because for sheer physical, spiritual, technical concentration, for eloquence eloquent singing, this is very marvellous. Glorious especially in the extraordinary profoundly dark, shaded Etwas bewegter of II.


Mandryka, do you know Sofronitsky's other two recordings? I love the 1959 in particular (in quite good sound overall), but I'll have to revisit the one you mention. There is also one from 1952.

Drasko

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2010, 01:15:05 PM »
Is Feinberg on CD in this? I cans ee it's on youtube.

Yes, Arlecchino or Japanese Triton. Both oop.


Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2010, 08:29:35 PM »
You can hear/watch Fiorentino in Op 17 here

My research tends to suggest that he played this in Naples in 1979 or is it a recording of his famous German1993 concert?

Anyway, his two CDs are



it's worth going to Amazon's site to read the reviews

and



This recording was rated by IPQ as the best ever from over 60 including the famous Richter's. I still have a soft spot for the live recording (the CD has much better sound than the Youtube clips). There is something more atmospheric that really lends itself to this, my favourite Schumann piano work.

Holden,

Do you have both the live Fiorentino and studio in Op.17? I have the live and agree it's out-of-this-world amazing! What is it about the studio that might lead IPQ to pick this one over the live? Is the sound perhaps better? The sound however on the live is quite good so I'm hard-pressed to see this as a factor.

Listening to Fiorentino live in the Fantasy I'm not sure where he could actually improve on himself. His sound is big yet intimate, he's nimble, songful, deep, angular - in short, all-around incredible. Does he ACTUALLY improve on himself in the studio?
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

George

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2010, 08:34:02 PM »
Yes, Arlecchino or Japanese Triton. Both oop.



I have that Arlecchino CD. I should spin it again soon.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2010, 08:49:50 PM »
I'm keen to hear Edwin Fischer's Schumann Fantasie, but as far as I can see it's completely unavailable except through a highly priced big Schumann box from andante.

I have that Fischer Fantasy. That Andante box as a whole is marvelously produced and is a giant of a one-stop. Hard to believe it's OOP...

Sadly, as posted earlier, that Fischer Fantasy isn't really all that distinguished. It's exceptionally well though-out, and Fischer's poetry shines brightly throughout, but evidently his chops had a prior engagement that day and his all-too-many missed notes make it hard to concentrate on the music.

Andante isn't shy about owning up to Fischer's technical shortcomings (it's spelled out in the booklet) but chose to include the performance anyway on the merits of the final movement. The finale is good, yes, but really can't hold a candle to others in this movement, notably Fiorentino live, Richter, and Argerich (heck, even Andsnes).

If you're up for a suggestion in the Fantasy I'd make it priority #1 to locate and purchase that live Fiorentino. It's truly mesmerizing. :) 
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2010, 09:54:57 PM »
(Again, thanks to Dave for the template:)

Op. 02: Papillons - Richter
Op. 06: Davidsbundlertanze - Gieseking ('47)
Op. 07: Toccata - Katchen, Richter ('59, & '86), Freddy Kempf
Op. 09: Carnaval - Michelangeli (BBC '57, live '73), Cherkassky (live '70), Solomon, F. Kempf
Op. 11: Piano Sonata, No.1 - Andsnes
Op. 12: Fantasiestucke - Richter, Argerich
Op. 13: Etudes symphoniques - Cziffra, Richter, Pogorelich, Cherkassky (live '91)
Op. 15: Kinderszenen - Argerich, Moravec
Op. 16: Kreisleriana - Argerich, Vogt, Pamela Ross (Connoisseur Society)
Op. 17: Fantasie - Fiorentino (live '93), Argerich, Katchen, Richter, Andsnes, E. Fischer
Op. 18: Arabeske - Katchen, F. Kempf
Op. 20: Humoreske - F. Kempf
Op. 22: Piano Sonata, No.2 - Richter
Op. 23: Nachtstücke - Richter
Op. 26: Faschingsschwank aus Wien - Michelangeli (BBC '57, live '68), Pamela Ross, Richter
Op. 72: Fugues - Richter
Op. 82: Waldszenen - Richter
Op. 99: Bunte Blätter - Richter, Vogt

Notable pianists not mentioned can be found in a couple of very worthwhile one-stopper sets: first, that Andante box (w/ Cortot, Rachmaninoff, Godowsky, Nat, Arrau, Gieseking, Horowitz, Haskil, E. Fischer, and Tagliaferro), and second, a now OOP EMI two-fer by Egorov (though no doubt his Schumann is included in EMI's new Egorov box). 

If I had to single out one sleeper performance from the list above I'd give the nod to Cziffra's Symphonic Etudes. Riveting...

« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 06:05:21 PM by Dancing Divertimentian »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Holden

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2010, 12:13:58 AM »
Holden,

Do you have both the live Fiorentino and studio in Op.17? I have the live and agree it's out-of-this-world amazing! What is it about the studio that might lead IPQ to pick this one over the live? Is the sound perhaps better? The sound however on the live is quite good so I'm hard-pressed to see this as a factor.

Listening to Fiorentino live in the Fantasy I'm not sure where he could actually improve on himself. His sound is big yet intimate, he's nimble, songful, deep, angular - in short, all-around incredible. Does he ACTUALLY improve on himself in the studio?

Yes I have both and listened to them yesterday to compare them after posting to this thread..

Studio - 1996 (IPQs favourite). This is exceptionally well played and is blemish free. The Langsam is absolutely beautiful and I can't think of anybody who plays it like SF. The recorded sound is superb and the brings out the gorgeous sound of the instrument that Fiorentino uses.

Live 1993 - this is not blemish free and there is the odd finger slip but nothing that 'jars' the ears. The sound quality is slightly recessed (but still very acceptable). The performance is just out of this world. You  listen to the 1996 recording and hear the first movement and you think "wow"! You then listen to the live version and the former now sounds perfunctory in comparison. All three movements are an improvement on 1996 and that is really hard to achieve. All I can think is that the live venue brought out that little bit extra from Sergio.

So why did IPQ not rate it in their survey? I suspect that they probably hadn't heard it. It would be interesting to see if anyone has actually read that IPQ review
Cheers

Holden

Offline Verena

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2010, 03:26:10 AM »

So why did IPQ not rate it in their survey? I suspect that they probably hadn't heard it. It would be interesting to see if anyone has actually read that IPQ review

I have read it, and I cannot remember that they even mentioned the live recording. I guess they were not aware of it. Perhaps I can dig up that issue, I might still have it somewhere, but finding it is easier said than done...

George

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2010, 04:14:26 AM »
Op. 15: Kinderszenen - Moiseiwitsch

Are you referring to the Naxos?

Quote
Op. 16: Kreisleriana - Brand,

Studio or live?

Drasko

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2010, 11:44:33 AM »
Moiseiwitsch Naxos 1930, Brand live 1983 on Palexa.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2010, 12:49:02 PM »
I played a handful of Op 17s today focussing on II and III. 

Sokolov’s recording is just really revealing – for me it is one of those performances which completely change your view of a piece. In II, he holds back the tempos, with the result that it’s like a real struggle, not just a triumphant swagger from Florestan. II is  battle, which Florestan resoundingly wins. In fact, there’s one point, just before the  Etwas bewegter where there seems to be a tac-à-tac between Eusebius and Florestan – every time Florestan  says something, Eusebius  (unsuccessfully) tries to respond. No one else I know  comes close to paying that passage like that: no one finds so such music in it. The Etwas bewegter has never been a more still and peaceful eye of the storm.

And III is very idiosyncratic. Most striking are the forte passages, which sound more like acts of defiance on the part of Eusebius, with accented bass notes sounding like a passing bell, mourning for his loss. For the first time, thanks to Sokolov, I saw why  III ends so positively.

Anyway, I may be over-imaginative. But this is a recording everyone who likes music  should know,  I think– even if you end up rejecting it. PM me if you want a link.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 12:56:09 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2010, 06:08:47 PM »
Yes I have both and listened to them yesterday to compare them after posting to this thread..

Studio - 1996 (IPQs favourite). This is exceptionally well played and is blemish free. The Langsam is absolutely beautiful and I can't think of anybody who plays it like SF. The recorded sound is superb and the brings out the gorgeous sound of the instrument that Fiorentino uses.

Live 1993 - this is not blemish free and there is the odd finger slip but nothing that 'jars' the ears. The sound quality is slightly recessed (but still very acceptable). The performance is just out of this world. You  listen to the 1996 recording and hear the first movement and you think "wow"! You then listen to the live version and the former now sounds perfunctory in comparison. All three movements are an improvement on 1996 and that is really hard to achieve. All I can think is that the live venue brought out that little bit extra from Sergio.

So why did IPQ not rate it in their survey? I suspect that they probably hadn't heard it. It would be interesting to see if anyone has actually read that IPQ review

Thanks, Holden.

Having trawled my old mags it turns out I actually have that old issue of IPQ (summer 2000) but unfortunately (after rereading) there's nothing discernible as to why the studio was chosen. In fact, there's little at all in reference to the live version with only a quick parenthetical blurb to give any indication the author's even heard it (it's clear he has, though).

So no real help from the author, although he makes no bones about being totally infatuated with the SOUND on the studio version. Which says zero since some of his other picks are suspect sonically. 
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Air

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2010, 06:16:48 PM »
For the Op. 17, there are also a couple of excellent recordings by Gieseking.  And Pollini ain't bad either.  I think, though, that the Fiorentino and Moiseiwitsch remain my favorite from all I've heard, with Gieseking, Richter, Sofronitsky, and Egorov close behind.

Some of you may be curious what our younger pianists have been doing as of late (though I think it's already been posted): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpvZ1l2CfTY&feature=related
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 06:19:17 PM by RexRichter »
"Summit or death, either way, I win." ~ Robert Schumann

George

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Re: Schumann solo piano music
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2010, 06:29:36 PM »
Some of you may be curious what our younger pianists have been doing as of late (though I think it's already been posted): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpvZ1l2CfTY&feature=related

Wow, I am listening to that one now and I am very impressed. Thanks for the link. 

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