Started by Mandryka, August 28, 2009, 04:42:11 AM

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Aha!  I believe I found a cheapo reissue of the Anda/Aura, with a bunch of other non-Anda stuff; another dodge-a-licious Documents/Membran/Aura [do the former own the latter?] box.  Let me quote from this thread:

Quote from: Mandryka on February 22, 2013, 01:47:30 AM
I don't know the one on Brilliant, But I know Anda on DG and the live one on Aura, from a concert with Chopin op 25 and a Schubert sonata. The live is one of the greats, -- the difference between it and the dead one is all to do with the intangible things that Bulldog keeps banging on about -- the sense of one dance responding to another, the sense of each dance finding its own distinctive face and emotional meaning, the sweep.

Quote from: Herman on March 11, 2013, 12:58:34 PM
It's been released on Ermitage, too, which seems to be the place where all these Italian radio recordings wind up.

This looks like it might be the one; the back cover at Amazon is totally illegible on the computer I am using.  For the moment I rely entirely on a couple Amazon customer reviews; I'll reproduce all the contents from one of those reviews, below.  Is it the same date/recording as the one mentioned by Mandryka et al?  Does anyone know any of the rest of these performances, and are they worth having as well?  Now I wonder if Membran has a different box, devoted to Anda, with this performance and other items of interest....

GREAT PIANISTS (Documents/Membran/Aura, 10cd, 2007)

QuoteCD1: Friedrich Gulda - Lugano, 19.1.1968
Haydn - Andante con variazioni
Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 8
Schubert - Impromptus Op. 90
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 21

CD2: Wilhelm Backhaus - Lugano, 18.5.1960, 11.6.1953
Haydn - Piano Sonata Hob XVI-52, Andante con variazioni, Fantasia
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 17
Chopin - Studies Op. 25 (excerpts), Nocturne Op. 27/2, Waltz Op. 18

CD3: Rudolf Serkin - Lugano, 22.5.1957
Schubert - Impromptu Op. 142/4
Bach - Capriccio
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 23
Brahms - Variations on Theme of Handel
Mendelssohn - Rondo capriccioso

CD4: Shura Cherkassky - Lugano, 5.12.1963
Mendelssohn - Rondo capriccioso
Schumann - Piano Sonata No. 1
Berg - Piano Sonata No. 1
Debussy - L'Isle joyeuse
Stravinsky - Trois mouvements de Petrouchka
Poulenc - Toccata

CD5: Lazar Berman - Lugano, 28.11.1989
Scriabin - Fantasia in B minor
Liszt - 5 Schubert Transcriptions, Funerailles
Rachmaninov - Six Moments Musicaux

CD6: Emil Gilels - Lugano, 25.09.1984
Scarlatti - Sonatas
Debussy - Pour le piano
Schumann - Etudes Symphoniques

CD7: Geza Anda - Ascona, 16.09.1965
Chopin - 12 Etudes Op.25
Schumann - Die Davidsbundlertanze
Schubert - Piano Sonata No. 13

CD8: Witold Malcuzynski - Locarno, 13.03.1963
Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/6, Rhapsody Op. 79/2
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 23
Chopin - Nocturne No. 13, Ballade No. 3, Mazurkas Nos. 15, 17, 45, Scherzo No. 3, Valze Op. 70/1, Etude Op. 10/12

CD9: Georges Cziffra - Ascone, 27.09.1963
Chopin - Fantasie Op. 49, Scherzo No. 2, Piano Sonata No. 2
Liszt - Rhapsodie espagnole, Liebestraum No. 2, Polonaise No. 2, Grand Galop Chromatique, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6

CD10: Bruno Canino - Lugano, 17.01.1993
Bach - Goldberg Variations
Help support GMG by purchasing items from Amazon through this link.


I'm quite sure that's the same recording, Octave; Membran (which has as many names as the Hydra had heads) has obviously incorporated Aura/Ermitage, as it has other catalogues. I have a couple of the discs listed by you on either Aura or Ermitage, which were originally, if I am not mistaken, produced from mainly Swiss-Italian radio tapes for cheap music magazines offered on a regular basis at Italian kiosks. I remember buying a mag about Stravinsky in Florence years and years ago and getting some delightful performances of works like the Octet conducted by Stravinsky himself at Lugano. In a way I could curse you ;D for bringing this up, because getting this would mean some duplications and creating more problems of space, both in the external world and in my head.
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


Christian Zacharias's comments on DBT

QuoteTo all those who attentively follow along in the score I would like to say: Not only do I play all the repetitions, but I also play a few more too —which is quite uncommon in this day and age, when even required repeats are generally omitted. In my defense, I might add that even Schumann sometimes didn't seem to know exactly what and how often he wanted something repeated. You can see this very clearly in the two editions of the DavidsbOndlertanze which he supervised. It is striking that he tends to call for more repetitions in the later edition. Also, I would say that the pieces, which take on a new formal guise through the additional repeats, seem to agree better with my feeling for proportions. Besides — let us leave it up to the conductors of this imaginary ball to repeat whatever sections, fanfares and dances they want. The guests are grateful; it makes them dance that much longer into the tipsy morning. The clock strikes six, the last guests leave, some of the waltz rhythms —though robbed now of their pulse — still scurrying in their heads. Their distant echo is a harp-like dominant seventh chord in which the notes are no longer struck, but audibly released until only the soft "A" is heard. And then it's over.

And what is there to say about the main piece on this CD, Opus 6? Perhaps simply that we are witnessing Robert Schumann the patient lying on the couch of Robert Schumann the psychiatrist. What the patient tells his analyst is recorded not in a medical report, but in the Davidsbandlertanze. Anonymously, or, more precisely, pseudonymously, since the patient has two souls in one breast: Florestan and Eusebius. But listen to them yourself... CHRISTIAN ZACHARIAS, 1978 Translation: Roger Clement
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


This is fabulous, I mean it reminds me of how wonderful music can be on modern a piano, something I was forgetting.  He's totally "in the moment".

It dates from 1991, which was a time when I saw him play a lot and I thought he was a really great pianist in the making, something which I stopped thinking around 2005. Listening to the DBT I suddenly remembered what all the fuss was about.

I shall have to revisit his first Ravel cycle soon.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


I notice some discussion from 6 years ago about Jonathan Biss's DBT—his studio recording is now complemented by a live one from Wigmore Hall in 2014. Has anyone compared the two?


The Wigmore one is on spotify, I'm just not in the mood myself.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


Cool, I found the EMI one on Qobuz so I'll probably get around to it myself eventually....

I've been mostly listening to this one lately


Quote from: amw on March 05, 2019, 01:34:37 AM
Cool, I found the EMI one on Qobuz so I'll probably get around to it myself eventually....

I've been mostly listening to this one lately

I'd be interested to know what you make of it. Clearly it's spiced up by the piano. But once you get beyond that, is it too restrained, too serious? I don't know, I can't separate my own mood when I listened from what's actually going on in the performance.

I don't have access to the booklet to see if she has anything interesting to say, the title of the CD makes me think she may have.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


I mean it's definitely not the way I would play it, but it's also an interpretation pretty much entirely created around the piano and therefore raises questions—is this kind of restraint and moderate tempi more historically accurate, truer to life? the instrument & the tempi give all the music a much more pronounced dance character; how much should this character actually be emphasised? (After all Schumann did remove the "dances" label from the second edition, instead calling it a set of "character pieces".) Etc.

I don't know if I like it but I definitely prefer the instrument to a modern piano for this repertoire. Also would have liked to hear Peter Katin or Alexei Lubimov try it.


Annette Seiler plays the Fantasiestucke in a similarly classical way. It just seems such a paradox that she should have this approach to expression and call her CD Psychogramme!

By the way, I've been enjoying Demus's fortepiano recordings. Not DBT, but the fantasie, symphonic études and Humoreske.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


I've always liked the Demus fortepiano recordings yes. Surprising how few others there are who have attempted Schumann piano music on historic instruments—one album apiece by Piet Kuijken, Jan Vermeulen, Penelope Crawford and Paolo Giacometti, as far as I know; and probably others that aren't currently available commercially.


Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


Two recordings by Fabienne Jacquinot 30 years apart, the former never off LP,  in my opinion she's one of the great Schumann interpreters, in this and in the Symphonic Etudes, delicate, sensual, and later on in the BNL recordings at least, strong, powerful,  the comment on youtube sums up my feeling entirely. I prefer the Arrauvian BNL recordings.

QuoteInterprétation bouleversante de délicatesse, de résonances poétiques au delà du silence. Tout les mystères du monde de Schumann intériorisés et révélés par cette grande artiste hélas trop méconnue.

https://www.youtube.com/v/Usip9JkZTfc  https://www.youtube.com/v/KoPP7h6pQnE

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


This one is well worth catching I think

He says something interesting about how he plays Kinderszenen

Quote"No. In fact, I've gone for the dark
side, stressing the arrhythmic aspects,
the sforzatos, the harshness and
lack of serenity.

I think the same is true of the DBT performance. About Davidsbundlertanze he says something incomprehensible about angels, the sort of thing which makes me wince

emerges from these eighteen pieces,
some of them exceptionally brief and
experimental, is the composer's desire
to be a winner, to be recognised as
an innovator. The final waltz reveals
a desire for transcendence: the image
of humans who aspire to become

Live event, Fazioli, nice Fazioli, I'm learining to like them, well recorded, very well recorded.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


Quote from: Mandryka on March 04, 2019, 04:06:49 AMI thought he was a really great pianist in the making, something which I stopped thinking around 2005.

Why? I have yet to hear a disappointing recording by him. I'll be sure to look out for this Mozart, it's not on Spotify unfortunately.


Quote from: betterthanfine on March 22, 2019, 03:38:25 PM
Why? I have yet to hear a disappointing recording by him. I'll be sure to look out for this Mozart, it's not on Spotify unfortunately.

Because of a couple of concert experiences which were a bit routine, that's all. The problem could well have been my mood, impossible to say.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


I have always been puzzled by the Schumann Was a Nutcase view.

Here is one of the most prolific composers in history who also managed to edit a music magazine and lead an orchestra.

In addition to this he had a large family.

I would have gone stark raving mad with all those responsibilities, but he kept on, until the sound in his head drove him crazy.

Mad men (or women  -  which were more common in that era) usually are largely unproductive members of society.


Worthwhile essay I thought here

QuoteRobert Schumann's Secret by Jan Reichow

It is not by chance that this selection of short and longer piano works ends with a strange piece whose paradigmatic character can be easily misunderstood. "The Bird as Prophet", from Forest Scenes op. 82, sounds as if, like "Caliph Stork", it is connected with a fairy-tale; but this is no "scene from childhood" - "almost too serious" - it is serious and feather-light at the same time: a meditation about nature.

As Theodor Adorno once wrote, "The beauty of nature is myth transposed into the imagination and perhaps compensated by it. We all find birdsong beautiful; no sensitive person in whom something of the European tradition survives can hear the song of the blackbird after rain and remain unmoved. Yet there is something terrifying about birdsong, because the bird is not really singing at all but obeying a spell to which it is in thrall. This terror also appears when birds are about to migrate, which, according to the fortune-tell-ers of old, presages disaster."'

One may well wonder what bird Schumann had in mind. I used to think it must be the blackbird, but its voice is much more powerful and less repetitive. It must be the sprightly robin, to which folk wisdom also assigns magical powers: if anyone disturbs its nest, "the cows' milk will turn red ... or the weather will penetrate the house".

"The Bird as Prophet" has a central sec-tion. "The start of the melody, with its full chords, suddenly breaks the spell and seems like a sigh of relief," writes Jurgen Uhde in his great work Denken and Spielen ("Thought and Play"); he hears in it "the intensity of the vox humana".

"At the beginning it is as if an answer comes, understanding, indeed agreeing, but then in the abrupt E flat major of bar 24 1...] the questioning gesture overpowers the answering one. Thus a fragment of subjective expression makes itself heard here, only to disappear again helplessly into the sounds of nature, still as unchangingly mysterious as ever"' Understood in this way, as a conversa-tion between man and nature, this "forest scene" gains the deeper perspective which characterises almost all Schumann's music even though he sometimes sidesteps it in his titles, as if he knew Brecht's dismissive saying "Don't gape in such a romantic way!"

The aesthetic theory of humour put forward by the writer Jean Paul does not explain the fact that Schumann chose the name "Humor-esque" for a piece that he perceived as far from humorous, indeed possiblyas his most melancholy of all, or that a piece concerned with rapt and intimate longings is named "Of foreign lands and peoples". The bird, however, is to be taken seriously, even if not literally. As JUrgen Uhde says, "If this bird is a prophet, it speaks the truth, but the truth is an enigma. Its voice occupies a strange middle ground
between dance and speech; the melody itself remains alien because of its dissonant, extended suspensions, heralding remote tonalities, so that its voice has a detached, unsettling tone." 4

The same is true of the key scene, "Ver-rufene Stelle" ("Haunted spot", CD Tr.M).

The flowers, high though they grow,
Are as pale here as death;
Just one, in the middle,
Stands out in dark red.
It does not have this from the sun:
Never has it encountered its glow;
It has it from the earth Which has drunk human blood. (Friedrich Hebbel)

The piano creates a tone never heard before in the history of music; words like "French overture", "Dead march" or "Bach Prelude in E flat minor" seem inappropriate, and even Hebbel's cryptic lines can serve only as a vague pointer to show how dark intimations of beauty, guilt and death can be captured in music in an incredibly finely crafted manner that reminds one of Webern.

It remains remarkable that Schumann, who never penned the short titles of his pieces without some reservations and always invented them retrospectively, as he empha-sized - that he was here prefacing the piece with an entire poem (or, as the case may be, did not eliminate that possibility, as with five
other pieces in the collection). Clearly he was concerned with suggesting a subtext for his music while at the same time the final words of the poem, "human blood", are completely dissolved, flowing away into the most delicate of musical structures.

Roland Barthes, in his somewhat extrava-gant essay on Kreisleriana, makes a stimulating observation: "'Soul', 'feeling' and 'heart' are all romantic names for the body. In the roman-tic text all becomes clearer if one translates the fluid moral concept by a physical, instinctive word - and nothing gets lost in this process: romantic music is saved as soon as the body returns to it or, more precisely, as soon as the body returns to it through music."'

This can be taken as encouragement to come closer to Schumann by a direct approach, without Jean Paul and the early romantic texts which, though they do address modern anxieties, are, in their fantastic floweriness, so much farther removed from modern under-standing than "physical" music.

The set of Forest Scenes which contains both these pieces is "late Schumann". It was completed in 1850, whereas the Scenes from Childhood and Kreisleriana were written in 1837/38, at a time when he was emerging from his earlier, weaker phase. Weaker? In such imaginatively inventive masterpieces as the Abegg Theme and Variations, Papillons or Carnaval?

In February 1838 he looked back on these works: "I am writing much more lightly and

clearly and, I think, more agreeably. I used to link everything together, one after the other, and the result was often strange and seldom beautiful; yet in the case of artists, even their mistakes belong to the world, so long as they are not positively ugly. For the last four weeks I have done virtually nothing but compose, as I wrote to you; it was pouring into me and I was constantly singing along with it - and usually it came out well. I am playing around with dif-ferent forms. Altogether I have felt, over the last year and a half, as if I were in possession of a secret. That sounds strange."

He was indeed singing along with it, and the singing helped him. Two years later, when his "year of lieder" had begun, he was to write, "I can scarcely tell you what a pleasure it is to write for the voice in comparison with writing for instruments, or describe the inner thrill and tumult that I feel while I'm sitting there work-ing. Something quite new happens to me." (19 February 1840 in a letter to Keferstein).6

At an earlier stage Schumann had composed at the piano, ever on the lookout for unmis-takably personal ideas and pioneering tonal relationships. Even in the Abegg Variations, which do follow a plan in the broadest sense (i.e. their theme), not a bar is predictable. The drawback of this manner of composing, a process with ready-finished, unmistakable little "modules", lies in the necessity to put the separate parts together "from outside", as it were ("previously I used to link everything together"), and in the lack of an overarching
concept, a plan for harmonic modulations or a clear idea of form.

On the subject of Schumann's method of composing Bernhard R. Appel observes: "Composition unburdened by technical skills and driven solely by a subjective and spontaneous desire for self-expression and genuine authenticity, forced Schumann into constant introspection. Weighing up aesthetic aims against compositional solutions in this critical dialogue with himself, the autodidact invents compositional techniques that are like new. But the price is high and paid in fragments."'

Schumann overcame this problem in 1838/ 39, but of all the masterpieces for piano pub-lished from then on, he liked his Kreisleriana best. This was perhaps because Kreisler, the old visionary (Schumann described him as "a figure created by E.T.A. Hoffmann, an eccen-tric, wild, brilliant Kapellmeister"), was able to affirm his existence in spite of everything, and it was only now that all his fragmentary thoughts came together in a higher degree of organisation. Almost all this work is in G minor or B flat major, and the musical analyst will everywhere detect a programmatical pro-gression of thirds, upwards and downwards, sometimes deeply thoughtful as in the sixth piece, sometimes stormy as in the seventh, and capable of transformation like the main theme of the later Piano Concerto, which originally occurred in Clara Wieck's Notturno op. 6/2. Indeed Schumann wrote to his fiancée, "I'm

going to call it Kreisleriana, and you and one of your inspired ideas will play the leading role in it." He goes on to say, "A true and truly wild love is present in some of the movements, as are your life and mine and many of your special gazes. The 'Scenes from Childhood' are just the opposite, gentle and tender and happy like our future."8 Schumann therefore saw the Scenes from Childhood as complementary to Kreisleriana. Obviously he wished his beloved Clara to see the full range of his personality with all its contradictions. Her reactions were appropriately complementary. Of Kreisleriana she wrote, "I am amazed at your inspiration and all the newness in it - do you know, I am sometimes almost afraid of you and ask myself: is it true that this man really going to be my husband ?" Of the Scenes from Child-hood she writes, "Whom have you dedicated the 'Scenes from Childhood' to ? Isn't it true that they only belong to the two of us? They remain constantly in my head - they're so simple, so intimate, so entirely 'you'."

Clara's perception was spot on. These are not scenes for children, and perhaps have nothing to do with children at all. The young poet Walt Harnisch, in Jean Paul's Flegeljahren ("Years of indiscretion"), seemed to Schumann the "perfect depiction of an adult who remains a child", writes Arnfried Edler, and he goes on refer to Novalis and again to Hoffmann: "The idea that the true poet is filled with a childlike spirit is a constant theme in Novalis's work and in the fairytales written by other writers of the
German romantic school. Almost all the motifs of the 'Scenes from Childhood' are to be found in, for instance, Hoffmann's 'Nutcracker' and 'Mouse King'." 11

Many years later Schumann wrote to Carl Reinecke that the Scenes from Childhood were "retrospects of an older person, meant for older people". As in the case of other works by Schumann, this opinion may have been influenced by the public debate about him. Edler tells us that the original idea for the work had been "the Utopia of an exist-ence in poetic love".12"Nearly thirty odd little things", as Schumann called them, had been composed, of which thirteen were selected to form the Scenes from Childhood, published as op. 15. A few of the remainder appeared in Bunte Blatter ("Colourful leaves") op. 99 (this collection also contains some "Album Leaves" and other short pieces) and in Album Leaves op. 124. The first of the "Three little pieces" (Tr from Bunte Blatter was originally called "Wish". Schumann sent it from Vienna to Clara Wieck in Paris on 18 December 1838, with a note saying, "God bless you, dearest girl. You have created spring around me and golden flowers peep forth - in other words I compose after receiving your letters, and can never tire of music.Herewith I send you my little Christmas gift.You will know what it is I wish for." 13

So here too there is a secret. And what about the other secret? While it was still closed to him and he could not yet think of a solution to the Clara secret, he wrote, with no specific intention, a magical, very singable song melody (Tr H). It begins with the first notes of "Sphinx" from Carnaval, A flat-C-B. It therefore perhaps arose in the context of the latter work during the winter of 1834/35, which means that it was not written, as the printed first edition states, in 1836, when Friedrich Wieck forbade all contact with his daughter Clara.

Is it the melody or the interpretation? Is it the song of an inner voice? How wonderful it is when the pianist performing it does not interpret the word "gesangvoll" (cantabile) to 6 mean "espressivo". In its sphinx-like tones the "Haunted spot" is never far away, nor is the bleeding heart of a human being or indeed Salome's ruthlessly beautiful words, "And the secret of love is greater than the secret of death"
1 2 3
4 5
7 8 9

Theodor W. Adorno: Aesthetische Theorie (Frankfurt/Main, 1970), p.105. Claus-Peter Lieckfeld / Veronika Straass: Mythos Vogel (Munich, 2002), p.184. Jurgen Uhde and Renate Wieland: Denken and Spielen: Studien zu einer Theorie der musikalischen Darstellung (Kassel, Basel, London, New York, 1988), p.418 Uhde, ibid. Roland Barthes: "Ranch" in: Was singt mir, der ich hore, in meinem Korper das Lied (Berlin, 1979), p.601. Bernhard R. Appel: "Poesie and Handwerk: Robert Schumanns Schaffensweise" in Schumann Handbuch, ed. Ulrich Tadday (Stuttgart, 2006), p.155. Appel, op. cit. p.153. Arnfried Edler: "Werke far Klavier zu zwei Handen bis 1840" in: Schumann Handbuch, p.249 Edler, ibid.
10 Edler, op. cit., p.246 11 Edler, ibid. 12 Edler, op. cit., p.247 13 Joachim Draheim: "Werke fOr Klavier zu zwei H8nden nach 1840" in: Schumann Handbuch, p.274.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


Quote from: Mandryka on March 17, 2019, 11:11:30 AM
This one is well worth catching I think

He says something interesting about how he plays Kinderszenen

I think the same is true of the DBT performance. About Davidsbundlertanze he says something incomprehensible about angels, the sort of thing which makes me wince

Live event, Fazioli, nice Fazioli, I'm learining to like them, well recorded, very well recorded.

I really like these recordings, too. I guess his style of playing (maybe one could call it volatile, highly inflected) fits Schumann generally very well.
Don't think, but look! (PI66)


He's done a lot of Schumann, which I'll try to explore. I got to know him through a really good recording of Chopin Etudes. I started to listen to some of his Bach/Busoni a couple of weeks ago and turned it off after two minutes because it seemed so vulgar . . . but maybe it was ironic vulgarity . . . which would make it OK.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen