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Thread: Robert Schumann

  1. #451
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    I certainly have many Schumann recordings that I love, Pollini, Kempff, Uchida, Perahia, among others. (Richter has not worked for me, although I know he is admired by many). At this point I am interested in a complete set of recordings.

    I think you should explore Franz Vorraber.

    One key thing with Schumann is the contrast between vigorous music and dreamy music - IMO Vorraber at his best is good at this. But in truth I’ve not listened to all the CDs - there are a lot - and I don’t know how consistently inspired he is.

    IMO with a complete set, a big question is whether they can make the stuff that we never listen to, things like the op 118 sonatas or the op 10 etudes, into music worth hearing. After all for the central stuff you have plenty of individual recordings to choose from which are likely to be better than any complete set, because they have been recorded because the musician felt he had something worth recording, rather than as part of a big project,

    Vorraber, IMO, is a revelation in op 118/2! I just checked.

    And you may well find his tone too hard and clangorous, I’m not too bothered.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-03-2020 at 10:40.

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  3. #452
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    You are absolutely right about the rational for choosing a complete set. I was buying your argument for Vorraber, until you said "clangorous." And the wild goose chase of tracking down 13 individual out-or-print CDs is not attractive.

    I guess short answer from TC is that no one has an opinion of Le Sage (at least no one that has noticed this thread). sigh. Now I'm wavering between Ashkenazy (not nearly complete, but big) and Le Sage to supplement my Kempff.
    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

  4. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    You are absolutely right about the rational for choosing a complete set. I was buying your argument for Vorraber, until you said "clangorous." And the wild goose chase of tracking down 13 individual out-or-print CDs is not attractive.

    I guess short answer from TC is that no one has an opinion of Le Sage (at least no one that has noticed this thread). sigh. Now I'm wavering between Ashkenazy (not nearly complete, but big) and Le Sage to supplement my Kempff.
    My view of the few pieces by Le Sage that I've heard is that he's very good on the vigorous music, less so on the introverted stuff. In fact when it was coming out I bought his recording with op 118 and op 32 -- stuff we normally never go near -- and I thought it was utterly boring.

    But Vorraber isn't something to buy, it's something to stream!

  5. #454
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    I agree with Mandryka about Eric Le Sage's Schumann, but it is a good survey, nonetheless--relatively speaking, and he's well recorded. Plus, Le Sage is a former winner of the International Schumann piano competition in Zwickau, so he's not exactly a shabby Schumann player, either.

    Other Schumann piano sets that are worth considering are those by (1) Claudio Arrau on Philips or preferably Heritage (sound-wise), whose Schumann playing shouldn't be underestimated (especially for his excellent Davidsbündlertänze, which Arrau considered to be the finest recording of his career, and his Symphonic Etudes, Blumenstück, etc.), and (2) Murray Perahia's superb, newly remastered bargain box set on Sony (especially for Perahia's first class Davidsbündlertänze, Papillons, and Symphonic Etudes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I0R...6bnDI&index=56: although neither set is complete; as well as (3) Florian Uhlig's soon to be completed survey for Hänssler--which I've not heard myself, but it has received favorable reviews, & I'm waiting for the set to be boxed, and (4) Reine Gianoli's complete survey, once issued by Nuova Era on individual CDs and later boxed by Accord--which is out of print and as a box set difficult to find now (except on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hga9MGCpJXk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzc66QSZww8). (I'm also waiting for Gianoli's set to get reissued.)

    In addition, some collectors have liked (5) Jorg Demus's complete survey, but I'm not 100% crazy about it myself (& here, I might even prefer Le Sage, especially sound-wise)--though Demus does play certain pieces well. Nevertheless, for those on a budget, Demus's set is very inexpensive--currently at only around $17 for 13 CDs on Amazon (& it used to be even cheaper...), and, like Gianoli, he has recorded all of the obscure Schumann solo piano works that rarely get played and are worth hearing. As for (6) Vladimir Ashkenazy, he can be exceptional in Schumann--such as his remarkable Carnaval, Op. 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV1NSKlqA4E, but it should be pointed out that Ashkenazy has a tendency to slow down in Schumann at times, poetically & romantically (& maybe too much so for some listeners?): such as in parts of his Davidsbündlertänze, and I don't expect that will be to all tastes. Personally, I really like how inwardly Ashkenazy plays the Innig movement, for instance, but other pianists, such as Maurizio Pollini & Eric Le Sage don't play it as reflectively: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzR8_248_dA. Here, for example, Le Sage's Innig isn't nearly as introverted or poetic, though it is well played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_xsfbW997o. Nor is Pollini's Innig either, and I dislike what Pollini does here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b6JnuJWDl8. (7) There's also Kempff's survey on DG, which you say you already own, and (8) Andras Schiff, who has recorded Schumann's piano works extensively for Denon, Teldec & ECM, and whose Schumann playing is very highly regarded. (Btw, Schiff's Innig is less romantically played than Ashkenazy's, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78ww7WCXLRA. While Murray Perahia, like Ashkenazy, takes a more inward approach, yet he also manages to cohesively maintain the structural flow of the music, which is a very difficult feat to pull off in Schumann: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ1e...6bnDI&index=31. Of the 5 pianists that I've linked to in this movement, I prefer Perahia's account, as he strikes me as being the most deeply attuned to Schumann's world, but I also like Ashkenazy & Schiff, too.)

    Finally, there is (9) the former East German pianist, Annerose Schmidt, who was the first winner of the International Schumann Piano Competition in Zwickau in 1964, & her 3 CD Schumann set on Berlin Classics, recorded in the 1970s, is exceptional: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisS...4dKN7emwUfTedQ. Btw, for Schumann fanatics, like myself, it is well worth keeping up with the winners of the Zwickau piano competition, which in the past have included some exceptional Schumann pianists.

    Yet, with all that said, I'd most recommend that you buy your Schumann recordings individually, since the greatest Schumann pianists of the past & present haven't normally recorded his piano music extensively enough to comprise box sets (with the exception of a legendary box set from pianist Yves Nat, whose recordings are mono: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6sKjMbFGlY, and arguably Arrau, Perahia, Schmidt, & Gianoli): such as Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Clara Haskil, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Harold Bauer, Sergio Fiorentino, Nelson Freire, Maryla Jonas, Ania Dorfmann, Serge Rachmaninov, Dmitri Bashkirov, Elisso Wirssaladze, Ivan Moravec, Arthur Rubinstein, Youri Egorov, Thierry de Brunhoff, Geza Anda, Deszo Ranki, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Lazar Berman, Nikolai Demidenko, Mario João Pires, Carlo Zecchi, Martha Argerich, Catharine Collard, Helene Grimaud, Michel Block, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Edith Picht-Axenfeld, Homero Francesch, Alicia de Larrocha, Christian Zacharias, Sylvie Carbonel, and recently, the late Dina Ugorskaja--pianists that are all known and well regarded for their Schumann playing (& I'm sure I've forgotten a few). Ugorskaja and Francesch are my most recent wonderful discoveries among this group of top flight Schumann pianists:

    --Ugorskaja: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PncN...H0wxDTxqGYaeuw
    --Francesch (& I wish DG would reissue this recording): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfSEDfHZ7IQ

    Not to mention, historically, Clara Schumann's own pupils, whose Schumann playing is often incomparable--interpretatively, despite that, by necessity, they made their recordings late in their lives, when they were past their prime--such as Fanny Davies, Adelina de Lara, Carl Friedberg, Marie Baumayer, Ilona Eibenschütz, etc.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb3U...126B64D884B9F4. What amazes about Clara Schumann's students is that they are able to play certain movements relatively on the fast side, without breaking the structure of the music apart, and yet they also somehow manage to find all of the inward poetry and reflection in this music at the same time--i.e., the dreamy world of Schumann's imaginary "Eusebius" companion. That combination is extremely rare from my listening experience. (& with that in mind, we shouldn't forget that Schumann also loved the music of Bach, and that it influenced his piano works greatly.)

    Percy Grainger should also be mentioned, too, since he studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt in 1895 where Clara Schumann had been the head of piano studies until her death in 1892. Grainger's piano roll of the Symphonic Etudes is therefore of great interest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE09cmKq9YE.

    The British pianist, Solomon, also studied with a student of Clara Schumann's early in his life, Mathilde Verne; though he later felt that he needed to relearn some of what she had taught him, when he studied with Lazare Lévy in Paris. Nevertheless, Solomon made an excellent recording of Schumann's Carnaval, Op. 9, for EMI in 1952: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQZIZKcoEuk

    (One historical pianist that I'd avoid is Alfred Cortot, whose Schumann playing can be dreadful, technically, but who, inexplicably, has a good reputation in this music. Which I find hard to understand.)

    If you or anyone else would like, I can write out a list of which pianists I'd consider to be the best for each of Schumann's major piano works, and you can take it from there, or perhaps you'd rather choose one of the box sets instead?
    Last edited by Josquin13; Mar-05-2020 at 22:13.

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  7. #455
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    ...
    Thanks for that, much to absorb. I do have an enjoy a number of the recordings you mention.

    I'm leaning towards Le Sage, because I'm not really looking for more recordings of the pieces I already enjoy. It is almost curiosity about what is missing in the pieces that are rarely performed and recorded.
    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

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  9. #456
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    (...) the greatest Schumann pianists of the past & present haven't normally recorded his piano music extensively enough to comprise box sets (with the exception of a legendary box set from pianist Yves Nat, whose recordings are mono: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6sKjMbFGlY, and arguably Arrau, Perahia, Schmidt, & Gianoli): such as Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Clara Haskil, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Harold Bauer, Sergio Fiorentino, Nelson Freire, Maryla Jonas, Ania Dorfmann, Serge Rachmaninov, Dmitri Bashkirov, Elisso Wirssaladze, Ivan Moravec, Arthur Rubinstein, Youri Egorov, Thierry de Brunhoff, Geza Anda, Deszo Ranki, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Lazar Berman, Nikolai Demidenko, Mario João Pires, Carlo Zecchi, Martha Argerich, Catharine Collard, Helene Grimaud, Michel Block, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Edith Picht-Axenfeld, Homero Francesch, Alicia de Larrocha, Christian Zacharias, Sylvie Carbonel, and recently, the late Dina Ugorskaja--pianists that are all known and well regarded for their Schumann playing (& I'm sure I've forgotten a few). Ugorskaja and Francesch are my most recent wonderful discoveries among this group of top flight Schumann pianists:
    (...)
    If you or anyone else would like, I can write out a list of which pianists I'd consider to be the best for each of Schumann's major piano works, and you can take it from there, or perhaps you'd rather choose one of the box sets instead?
    I'd like to see your recommendations of individual recordings of some of the seldom played works. I mean the ones not as famous as the Kreisleriana/Carnaval/Kinderzsenen but not the most obscure.

    For example I really like Richter's Bunte Blatter, op.99. What else should I check, from his huge (mostly live) discography?

    Fortepiano recommendations will also be appreciated.

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    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    My latest Schumann obsession is Papillons, and I just listened to Erogov's recording. Splendid, just wonderful.

    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

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  12. #458
    Senior Member Janspe's Avatar
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    If I'd have to name one moment in music history where the only word that comes to mind is genius - the first thing that I'd have to say would be the bit in the E-flat quintet where the opening theme from the first movement makes a reappearance as a fugal subject and is intertwined with the themes of the finale. It's so effortless, so natural; yet so fresh, and totally suprising. I love it so much.

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  14. #459
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    love those triplets the brasses play 30 seconds before the end of Symphony No. 2.

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    I like the cello concerto of Robert Schumann vey much.

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  17. #461
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicaterina View Post
    I like the cello concerto of Robert Schumann vey much.
    The Cello and Violin concertos are both underrated. Both very fine pieces.

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