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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: George on February 02, 2015, 07:08:20 PM

Title: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: George on February 02, 2015, 07:08:20 PM
I recently have become curious about Clara Schumann's works for solo piano. I have two main questions:

1. How are they? Do they rate well alongside other romantic composers works?

2. Which performance of her works do you prefer?

Thanks! 
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Brian on February 02, 2015, 07:39:49 PM
I seemed to like a HIPish recording (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Nov13/SchumannC_piano_PMR0028.htm) when I heard it a year ago, but the write-up is so breezy that my skeptical side throws a red flag and begs to listen again with fresh ears. Clara did not work well with large solo formats, but she could unfurl a tune nearly as well as Mendelssohn.

As a side note, her youthful piano concerto is a tiny piece; the outer movements are of little interest but the slow movement is a very peculiar trio for piano, one cello, and timpani (!).
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: George on February 02, 2015, 07:42:38 PM
I seemed to like a HIPish recording (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Nov13/SchumannC_piano_PMR0028.htm) when I heard it a year ago, but the write-up is so breezy that my skeptical side throws a red flag and begs to listen again with fresh ears. Clara did not work well with large solo formats, but she could unfurl a tune nearly as well as Mendelssohn.

As a side note, her youthful piano concerto is a tiny piece; the outer movements are of little interest but the slow movement is a very peculiar trio for piano, one cello, and timpani (!).

Thanks, Brian! Have you happen to have heard the 3CD set on CPO?

EDIT - It's on Spotify
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 02, 2015, 08:21:05 PM
Thanks, Brian! Have you happen to have heard the 3CD set on CPO?

EDIT - It's on Spotify
The playing is generally fine and so is the music, as long as expectations are realistic. The sound in that set is good, though with a slight bit of reverb. I can't compare, but I remember there was another set out there. If you like this sort of thing, you will probably like it.
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 03, 2015, 05:03:12 AM
As a side note, her youthful piano concerto is a tiny piece; the outer movements are of little interest but the slow movement is a very peculiar trio for piano, one cello, and timpani (!).

Apparently I like the Concerto more than Brian does. It's chock full of attractive melodies. If no masterpiece, it is of its time and a good example of the early Romantic concerto. I can forgive much: She was only 14 when she began composing it, 15 when she finished (Robert did the orchestration).

Sarge
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Brian on February 03, 2015, 05:28:04 AM
Apparently I like the Concerto more than Brian does. It's chock full of attractive melodies. If no masterpiece, it is of its time and a good example of the early Romantic concerto. I can forgive much: She was only 14 when she began composing it, 15 when she finished (Robert did the orchestration).

Sarge
I like it plenty, but the Naxos recording I heard is slow and kinda dead in the outer movements. I think it was with some kind of southern Italian youth orchestra.
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: George on February 03, 2015, 05:34:21 AM
Apparently I like the Concerto more than Brian does. It's chock full of attractive melodies. If no masterpiece, it is of its time and a good example of the early Romantic concerto. I can forgive much: She was only 14 when she began composing it, 15 when she finished (Robert did the orchestration).

Sarge

Thanks, Sarge. Did you hear the solo set on CPO?
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 03, 2015, 05:42:16 AM
I like it plenty, but the Naxos recording I heard is slow and kinda dead in the outer movements. I think it was with some kind of southern Italian youth orchestra.

An orchestra of women, actually. I prefer the other recording of the concerto I have (with the Bamberger Sinfoniker on the Tudor label).

Thanks, Sarge. Did you hear the solo set on CPO?

I have not. I do have the single CD CPO made earlier and like it well enough.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/gmgpictures/ClaraSchuCham.jpg)

Sarge
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Brian on February 03, 2015, 05:45:58 AM
A orchestra of women, actually. I prefer the other recording of the concerto I have (with the Bamberger Sinfoniker).

Oops, now I seem sexist.  :( It's been a few years! I'll listen to the Bamberg SO recording today if it's on NML.
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Mandryka on February 03, 2015, 08:45:08 AM
I recently have become curious about Clara Schumann's works for solo piano. I have two main questions:

1. How are they? Do they rate well alongside other romantic composers works?

2. Which performance of her works do you prefer?

Thanks!

You should check out her 16 variations on a theme by Robert Schumann.
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: George on December 09, 2018, 10:15:05 AM
The playing is generally fine and so is the music, as long as expectations are realistic. The sound in that set is good, though with a slight bit of reverb. I can't compare, but I remember there was another set out there. If you like this sort of thing, you will probably like it.

Thanks for sharing this. After listening to the set via Spotify on my home stereo, I am finding the sound to be too reverberant.
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: Todd on December 09, 2018, 11:18:48 AM
I've listened to a small selection of Clara Schumann's solo works.  Sheila Arnold included a nice recording of a piece on her Brahms disc.  By far, the strongest advocate for Clara's music I've heard so far is Ragna Schirmer in this mixed rep disc:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51qbXYI%2BIAL._SS425.jpg)
Title: Re: Clara Schumann - Works for Solo Piano
Post by: amw on December 09, 2018, 01:45:05 PM
Most of her surviving music was written before she was 21 & reveals strong influences of, in particular, Chopin & Mendelssohn. There are some small masterpieces but in general I have to agree with Charles Rosen that lack of encouragement & training and a deeply internalised prejudice against female composers prevented her from ever reaching musical maturity.

The piano music set is at least as good as that of as any other “minor” composer of the era though (eg Spohr, Moscheles, Weber, Dietrich, Bargiel, Herzogenberg etc)