Schumann's Shoebox

Started by aquablob, April 07, 2007, 08:11:59 AM

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Jo498

I suppose the best way here as in many other cases is to get the one complete box that seems decent enough and get single disc support for the pieces one particularly cares about (or where one particularly dislikes the interpretation in the cplt box). I admittedly don't know the "neglected" pieces well enough (I have the Demus/Nuova Era for completeness but am not sure I ever listened to all of it) but I think that the important pieces are all covered in very good recordings outside complete boxes.

"Noveletten" might be the most neglected almost major collection (I think Arrau did all of them, and Ciani but both might be hard to find). Even for "Bunte Blätter" there are Richter or Egorov on single disc or duos.
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Pohjolas Daughter

I'm a big fan of Wilhelm Kempff in Schumann.

There are some lovely boxed sets of his recordings on DG including the "Original Masters" sets (not certain whether or not the OM are still available new in physical form or not).

If you're feeling like exploring, I imagine that there are some uploads on YT.   :)

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

Madiel

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on September 06, 2022, 02:19:22 AM
I'm a big fan of Wilhelm Kempff in Schumann.

There are some lovely boxed sets of his recordings on DG including the "Original Masters" sets (not certain whether or not the OM are still available new in physical form or not).

If you're feeling like exploring, I imagine that there are some uploads on YT.   :)

PD

I already have a Kempff set of... I think it's 5 discs.

I'm not entirely a fan. This is part of why I'm looking for something else. As much as anything I'd prefer modern sound quality.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Madiel on September 06, 2022, 02:25:28 AM
I already have a Kempff set of... I think it's 5 discs.

I'm not entirely a fan. This is part of why I'm looking for something else. As much as anything I'd prefer modern sound quality.
Good luck!  I'll be interested in finding out who you decide on and how well you like them.

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

Leo K.

I'm going to have to bring my Kempf Schumann out, it's been too long. Thanks for the heads up!

Mandryka

A page of notes on the quartets, taken from the Tersycordes recording

QuoteIt is often the case with regard to early music, much less so with regard to the classic and romantic repertoire: the heirs to Joseph Joachim and Fritz Kreisler do not usually undertake a careful examination of the original score as part of their musical preparation. But in the face of innovative technologies the spirit can evolve quickly, and the members of the Terpsycordes Quartet provide living proof. For their first recording featuring Schumann's complete string quartets it was important for them to go to the sources in order to find answers to their questions about the interpretation of these works.


The Score

First violinist Girolamo Bottiglieri was not convinced by the readings offered by commercial editions of Schumann's quartets available and set out to find the original manuscripts. "In contrast to Urtext editions, the score edited by Peters that we employed did not always provide a clear idea of the original phrasing", he explained. "It was limited to bowing indications that sometimes cut the breath of a phrase." It was in these phrases that the four musicians sensed the shadow of the piano and its style. "You could say that it was actually written for two hands", interjected the violist Caroline Haas, who also asserted that she, like her colleagues, also had difficulties recreating this "piano" style. "It is a less common manner of treating the quartet, with frequent syncopations and very irregular sequences."


The Music

After a great deal of research the quartet had to accept the evidence: because of multiple layers of corrections, not only in the composer's hand but also from the first performers, it is almost impossible to ascertain definitively what the original was. These documents, however, do provide a good idea of the evolution of the piece over the course of the rehearsals and performances up to the first edition. On the other hand, the musicians were confronted with a fundamental question with regard to their interpretation: Schumann himself did not make any suggestions with regard to bowing, preferring to mark complete phrases as he likewise does in his Lieder. "Beyond its pianistic form it is very vocal in style", confirmed Caroline Haas.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Florestan

Quote from: Mandryka on October 04, 2022, 10:25:19 AM
A page of notes on the quartets, taken from the Tersycordes recording

"Beyond its pianistic form it is very vocal in style"

Which begs the question: why did Schumann write a string quartet if a piano piece or a Lied would have apparently been more suitable?  Did he try to emulate the sound of the piano by means of a string quartet (an impossible and absurd task) or did he try to make the string quartet sing?
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Mandryka

Quote from: Florestan on October 04, 2022, 10:47:29 AM
"Beyond its pianistic form it is very vocal in style"

Which begs the question: why did Schumann write a string quartet if a piano piece or a Lied would have apparently been more suitable?  Did he try to emulate the sound of the piano by means of a string quartet (an impossible and absurd task) or did he try to make the string quartet sing?

It reminds me of the argy-bargy about the phrasing of Bach's cello suites.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Cato

Quote from: Florestan on October 04, 2022, 10:47:29 AM

"Beyond its pianistic form it is very vocal in style"

Which begs the question: why did Schumann write a string quartet if a piano piece or a Lied would have apparently been more suitable?  Did he try to emulate the sound of the piano by means of a string quartet (an impossible and absurd task) or did he try to make the string quartet sing?


There is the answer!

e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/v/jldDh_3fV8w
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Madiel

While professional musicians undoubtedly need to consider these performance details, making a song and dance about how you've gone back to original material and how previous performances weren't right has Sales Gimmick overtones.

It's the musicians equivalent of saying that the product is new and improved, so you shouldn't be satisfied with what you've already got.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Florestan

Quote from: Madiel on October 04, 2022, 09:03:06 PM
While professional musicians undoubtedly need to consider these performance details, making a song and dance about how you've gone back to original material and how previous performances weren't right has Sales Gimmick overtones.

It's the musicians equivalent of saying that the product is new and improved, so you shouldn't be satisfied with what you've already got.

Yep.
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Jo498

But this does not mean that one cannot say if a piece is written "idiomatically" for e.g. string quartet or if it is more like "song without words" (e.g. several slow Haydn quartet movements, are basically "arias" for violin with accompaniment) or if it sounds like a transcribed piano piece, cf. Beethoven's op.14/1 (does it sound transcribed?)

I never played either piano nor string instrument, so I could not tell what was clearly? (un)idiomatic writing for strings. But one feature that comes to my mind immediately is the relentless and somewhat "stiff" rhythm and repetitions in the finale of Schumann's A major quartet that certainly reminds me of his piano pieces (e.g. the marcia/scherzo in the middle of the Fantasy or the finale of the Symphonic Etudes) and I think it works better on piano.
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Madiel

The idea that Schumann wrote pianistically is old news.

Whether it's more true for him than other composers, I've no idea. It could equally be just part of the very tired narrative about how Schumann deteriorated after his early piano works.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Mandryka



Myrthen complete. Nellie van der Sijde and Maarten Koningsberger on Globe -  sensitive poetry delivered humbly, in an understated but nuanced way. Room sized - not projected like in a grand opera.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Florestan

Quote from: Madiel on October 05, 2022, 12:54:13 PM
very tired narrative about how Schumann deteriorated after his early piano works.

Well, I have started to listen to his complete piano music in this performance:



working my way backwards, from CD 12 to CD1.

After listening to CD 12 and CD11, I have to say that the late works are decidedly not of the same quality as the early ones. The deterioration is obvious on multiple levels: less, if at all, melodic inspiration; less, if at all, striking ideas; more often than not, less expressive, even plainly dull and monotonous. So AFAIC Schumann's late works are indeed nowhere near as good as his early ones.
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Jo498

This also depends on what one means with "late". I frankly don't know the late piano pieces (Gesänge der Frühe etc.)very well as they never grabbed me. But I have seen the "late, mad and bad" criticism towards the 3rd piano trio, all or at least the d minor and f-a-e alternative completion violin sonatas as well as the 2nd symphony! I don't agree with these criticism and find the violin sonatas comparably underrated.
And of course the violin concerto where I agree, or in any case don't care for the piece (neither do I care much for the cello concerto that despite its lateness seems to have been accepted to the mainstream already in the early/mid 20th century).
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Mandryka

Quote from: Florestan on October 12, 2022, 02:08:28 AM
Well, I have started to listen to his complete piano music in this performance:



working my way backwards, from CD 12 to CD1.

After listening to CD 12 and CD11, I have to say that the late works are decidedly not of the same quality as the early ones. The deterioration is obvious on multiple levels: less, if at all, melodic inspiration; less, if at all, striking ideas; more often than not, less expressive, even plainly dull and monotonous. So AFAIC Schumann's late works are indeed nowhere near as good as his early ones.

What do you think of the cello concerto?
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Mandryka

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Florestan

Quote from: Jo498 on October 12, 2022, 03:12:48 AM
This also depends on what one means with "late". I frankly don't know the late piano pieces (Gesänge der Frühe etc.)very well as they never grabbed me. But I have seen the "late, mad and bad" criticism towards the 3rd piano trio, all or at least the d minor and f-a-e alternative completion violin sonatas as well as the 2nd symphony! I don't agree with these criticism and find the violin sonatas comparably underrated.
And of course the violin concerto where I agree, or in any case don't care for the piece (neither do I care much for the cello concerto that despite its lateness seems to have been accepted to the mainstream already in the early/mid 20th century).

Quote from: Mandryka on October 12, 2022, 03:16:47 AM
What do you think of the cello concerto?

Ah, I wasn't clear enough. What I wrote above applies to the piano music only. His late orchestral and chamber music is another matter altogether.
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Mandryka

Quote from: Florestan on October 12, 2022, 03:32:39 AM
Ah, I wasn't clear enough. What I wrote above applies to the piano music only. His late orchestral and chamber music is another matter altogether.

It was a genuine question about the cello concerto, I find it really quite a challenge. Brahms, Joachim and Clara thought it shouldn't be published. On the other hand, Shostakovich orchestrated it. Furtwangler, Casals, Fournier, Rostropovich, Britten, Piatigorsky, Barbirolli, Kondrashin, Schiff, Haitink all played it. So I guess they all saw something of interest in it.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen