Author Topic: Schumann's Shoebox  (Read 97595 times)

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Offline Madiel

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #480 on: August 25, 2021, 03:59:45 AM »
Am I the only one who thinks this DOES work? I do think so. I do like the Schumann on here. It's very natural-sounding to my ears:



I'd have to know exactly what "this" is, first, but if we're talking an instrumental version of Schumann's songs... I rather like having the poetry.
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Offline milk

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #481 on: August 27, 2021, 06:16:53 AM »
I'd have to know exactly what "this" is, first, but if we're talking an instrumental version of Schumann's songs... I rather like having the poetry.
Yeah, I like it but I admit I won’t be playing it very often.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #482 on: January 21, 2022, 02:26:14 AM »
Do we have any views about the quality of complete (allowing for slightly varying degrees of "completeness") series of Schumann's solo piano works?

I know there's a Jorg Demus set from around the 1970s. There's Dana Ciocarlie, who I seem to remember getting pretty favourable opinions around here. There's Florian Uhlig on Hanssler (going for the "I'm the only one who's pursued every alternative version" completeness award). I believe Brilliant Classics put a box together from a range of pianists. Claves has a series of 6 double-CD albums with several different pianists.

Just curious as to I might best use as a guide through the catalogue. Some works I know well (I have several discs of Kempff in a box), some not so well.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #483 on: January 21, 2022, 03:07:38 AM »
Do we have any views about the quality of complete (allowing for slightly varying degrees of "completeness") series of Schumann's solo piano works?

I have Reine Gianoli, Jorg Demus, the Brilliant Classics box, the Ashkenazy (not complete) box and Eric le Sage. All have their merits but the le Sage set takes the prize for me because it also contains the complete chamber music with piano. It also has the best sound (the Ashkenazy box is surprisingly poor in this respect, very constricted, unspacious sound). In terms of price / quality balance, though, the Brilliant set is unbeatable.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #484 on: January 21, 2022, 03:11:39 AM »
I have Reine Gianoli, Jorg Demus, the Brilliant Classics box, the Ashkenazy (not complete) box and Eric le Sage. All have their merits but the le Sage set takes the prize for me because it also contains the complete chamber music with piano. It also has the best sound (the Ashkenazy box is surprisingly poor in this respect, very constricted, unspacious sound). In terms of price / quality balance, though, the Brilliant set is unbeatable.

Thanks, I had forgotten about Le Sage. I don't need the chamber music. However at this point I'm only looking at streaming/exploration so if his piano solo performances are good I would happily give it a whirl.

As for Ashkenazy, I actually stumbled across the Classics Today review earlier tonight, which raises the same issue about how poor the sound is, in very similar terms to your own.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #485 on: January 21, 2022, 03:19:00 AM »
Thanks, I had forgotten about Le Sage. I don't need the chamber music. However at this point I'm only looking at streaming/exploration so if his piano solo performances are good I would happily give it a whirl.

Always the best strategy.

Quote
As for Ashkenazy, I actually stumbled across the Classics Today review earlier tonight, which raises the same issue about how poor the sound is, in very similar terms to your own.

Yes, it really sounds as if he played in a small cube. I don't know what the sound engineer(s) were thinking or doing but the result is bad. Very bad.
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Offline Iota

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #486 on: January 21, 2022, 03:26:17 AM »
Fwiw, Le Sage also comfortably tops the list for me of the ones I've heard. I find his playing so consistently illuminating and fresh. I've only dipped into a few other complete sets but found nothing nearly as appealing. Edited to add - With the possible exception of Demus, who also has a very winning way with Schumann. Le Sage remains a favourite though.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 03:39:04 AM by Iota »

Offline milk

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #487 on: January 21, 2022, 03:37:08 AM »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #488 on: January 21, 2022, 09:18:26 AM »
Do we have any views about the quality of complete (allowing for slightly varying degrees of "completeness") series of Schumann's solo piano works?

I know there's a Jorg Demus set from around the 1970s. There's Dana Ciocarlie, who I seem to remember getting pretty favourable opinions around here. There's Florian Uhlig on Hanssler (going for the "I'm the only one who's pursued every alternative version" completeness award). I believe Brilliant Classics put a box together from a range of pianists. Claves has a series of 6 double-CD albums with several different pianists....................

My two 'complete' sets (plus now culled down other single/double discs) are Dana Ciocarlie (added in 2020) and Eric Le Sage - more discussion in another forum thread Schumann solo piano music, for those interested; tried to look for some reviews in my usual sites on Ciocarlie without any luck, just curious - her recordings were done 'live' but there is absolutely no audience noise (see San Antone's comments in the link).  Dave :)

   


Offline amw

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #489 on: January 21, 2022, 10:58:02 AM »
I like Uhlig more than Le Sage, and Demus more than both of them, although the sound quality on his recordings is not good. Ciocarlie is also pretty good, although didn't impress me as much. Of the pianists on the Claves Records multi-pianist integral, I have the volumes by Cédric Pescia and Francesco Piemontesi, who are both exceptional, but don't have the volumes by Finghin Collins.

With Schumann's piano music I am comfortable with a wide range of interpretations, and the music also lends itself to such. One potential criticism is that virtually all of the integral pianists tend to stick to relatively safe interpretations, without tapping into the correct level of insanity. But every integral has something to recommend it and has a few exceptional recordings—Le Sage's Humoreske and Nachtstücke, Uhlig's Humoreske and Piano Sonata No. 2, Pescia's Kreisleriana, Carnaval and Novelletten, etc. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention Le Sage & company's version of the Andante and Variations for two pianos, two cellos and horn (one of my favourite underrated Schumann pieces, and much better in this incarnation than in its revision as Op. 46), which beats out all of the competition that I'm aware of, including the recordings by Argerich et al. and Schiff et al.

If I had to recommend one integral to someone who only knows the "great" works and isn't a huge Schumann fan but is open to being convinced, it would be the Claves (or Le Sage if it's the version of the box that includes the chamber music). If I had to recommend one to someone who only knows the "great" works but already loves them and has reference recordings of them, it would be the Uhlig, for offering a glimpse into Schumann's actual working process.

Ignore the Ashkenazy integral and look for this (recorded 1965-1972), since the four recordings it contains are close to best in class and the sound quality is... still pretty bad but I promise it makes no difference. This and a few other recordings by "A" pianists (e.g., Argerich, Anda, Arrau) from the same era arguably represent a world-historical apex of Schumann interpretation.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 11:02:00 AM by amw »

Offline Madiel

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #490 on: January 21, 2022, 04:50:18 PM »
Thanks for the additional thoughts.

I might well try going through a couple of different series via streaming. I mean, this might actually take several years depending on my mood. I only have about 30 simultaneous listening projects on the books at any one time. Schumann popped into my head the other day just because I chose one of the chamber works to listen to on Idagio as I drifted off to sleep and it was great. Actually a work I have a recording of but a different version.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #491 on: Today at 01:50:32 PM »
I've heard Piemontesi play Fantasie in C and my first impression is it was a bit under powered? My favorites are Pollini, Argerich and Richter's studio recordings for this, so that might be an indication of how I like it.

Another +2 or 3 for Eric Le Sage for a complete integrale, it has its ups and downs but as a whole I like it.

edit: not sure how I forgot about Fiorentino on APR, possibly my favorite for op. 17
« Last Edit: Today at 02:59:41 PM by hvbias »
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Offline amw

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #492 on: Today at 03:48:54 PM »
For the Fantasy in C there is no performance that equals or surpasses Claudio Arrau's 1959 Ascona recording (Aura/Ermitage) but I would also endorse Fiorentino, and the Ashkenazy 1966 (?) recording I linked above is exceptional as well. I think power is less important in this piece than intimacy and sensuality, although power can obviously be an important part of the full emotional range that the piece requires; but Ashkenazy avoids it while still managing to be extremely moving (I would say the same about Fiorentino, incidentally).

Offline hvbias

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #493 on: Today at 04:19:08 PM »
For the Fantasy in C there is no performance that equals or surpasses Claudio Arrau's 1959 Ascona recording (Aura/Ermitage) but I would also endorse Fiorentino, and the Ashkenazy 1966 (?) recording I linked above is exceptional as well. I think power is less important in this piece than intimacy and sensuality, although power can obviously be an important part of the full emotional range that the piece requires; but Ashkenazy avoids it while still managing to be extremely moving (I would say the same about Fiorentino, incidentally).

Ordered the Arrau CD, thank you!

Maybe under powered was the wrong way to word it, sounded like he was underplaying some of the dynamics. Best analogy I can think of is like Giltburg in Beethoven op. 109/110, like he is just holding back a bit. I could certainly be off, I was listening to it on a rowing machine with in ear earphones that do block out all outside noise but maybe not the best condition to fairly evaluate it.
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Offline amw

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Re: Schumann's Shoebox
« Reply #494 on: Today at 04:25:52 PM »
Ordered the Arrau CD, thank you!
Can also be previewed here. (The sound is not this bad on the Aura CD, although there's still a bit of clipping.)

Maybe under powered was the wrong way to word it, sounded like he was underplaying some of the dynamics.
That's potentially fair—it's been a while since I have heard Piemontesi's Fantasy (I know I liked his recordings of the other sonatas). That was also my initial attitude towards the Ashkenazy, especially in parts of the second movement, until I got to the end of the last movement and realised I had at some point, without my awareness, become completely engrossed in the performance. We may simply like different things.