Schumann

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Belle
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Schumann

Post by Belle » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:12 pm

I've noticed my collection of the piano works of Schumann has grown rather tired and needs revamping. I'm particularly wanting a good version Waldscenen and Fantasiestucke and, without listing them all here, other works such as these. I'm sure somebody here will be able to recommend very good performances. I have Arrau and the sound quality is terrible. Ashkenazy doesn't excite and I seldom play these CDs by him.

John F
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Re: Schumann

Post by John F » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:46 am

My favorite recording of the Waldszenen is by Sviatoslav Richter for Deutsche Grammophon in 1956. At the same time, Richter did 6 of the Fantasiestücke - he never recorded #4 and 6 - and I like that recording too.

In the old days, "Vogel als Prophet" from Waldszenen was one of the most recorded pieces by Schumann. Here's Alfred Cortot, in a recording that's a lesson in subtle rubato.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMLno6-T_Og
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Schumann

Post by Belle » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:40 am

Thanks, I'll take a listen. And I noticed I wrote incorrectly for Waldszenen!! I must say Schumann has been a constant in my musical life, along with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. I never tire of Schumann.

barney
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Re: Schumann

Post by barney » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:30 am

I second John re Richter and Waldszenen. I have that performance in 5 different sets - that's the downside of big modern box sets. I also have and recommend Kempff, Haskil, Uchida (glorious modern sound) and Eschenbach, among others.

Belle
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Re: Schumann

Post by Belle » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:36 am

Listening via U-Tube I notice that most of the older performances of Waldszenen are of a much slower tempo. I'm not sure that I like it played so slowly.

jbuck919
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Re: Schumann

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:11 am

Belle wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:40 am
Thanks, I'll take a listen. And I noticed I wrote incorrectly for Waldszenen!! I must say Schumann has been a constant in my musical life, along with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. I never tire of Schumann.
Waldscenen is the spelling on Schumann's holograph. If you don't believe me, the facsimile is available on IMSLP. Waldszenen, like Kinderszenen, is a modernization.

Dear old Mrs. Troidle believed that if you could play Bach and Schumann, you could play anything. Although this is a problematic statement in several different ways, she always had me working on something by Bach and something by Schumann. Incredibly, the next thing she had me playing (after a fashion as I now know) after Kinderszenen was Fantasiestücke. I did skip In der Nacht, IMO the greatest number in this opus, which requires a transcendental technique. When I graduated from high school, I had just started working on the Noveletten, about which I remember nothing.

Perhaps this tempo is more to Belle's liking:


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Lance
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Re: Schumann

Post by Lance » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:50 am

Ah, Robert Schumann ... my desert island piano composer (but then I could never choose just one!). Schumann has been so well represented on recordings that is difficult to select just one recording of anything he composed. However, among the plethora of recordings of both the Waldscenen and the Fantasiestucke, there are some superfine recordings.

I quite agree with most on Sviatoslav Richter's DGG recording of this piece. Top of the list for him on this. There was also a Praga recording of the same piece, I believe recorded live. Another favourite is Clara Haskil's Philips recording, now on Decca. One must surely have at least both of these. You might even prefer Haskil's over Richter's. She was such a magnificent artist with her sensitive touch and sound.

The Fantasiestucke, Op. 12 has even a wider selection of recordings than the Waldscenen. If I had to select just one recording, it would have to be Leschetizky scholar Benno Moiseiwitsch, whose recording on an old RCA "Bluebird" LP recording goes back many years. I was so happy when it was finally reissued on CD [Testament 1023]. His opening piece of that set, "Des Abends" has remained a favourite for years and sets up an extraordinary rest of the piece. Leschetizky had a way of getting a gorgeous sound from his students that lasted their lifetimes. I knew one, personally, who lived nearby and was a Leschetizky pupil and assistant: Ethel Newcomb. [She wrote a wonderful book entitled Leschetizky As I Knew Him reprinted by DaCapo Press many years ago that is worth reading.] Having visited her at her home many times, when she played Schumann, it was something one could never forget. Other Leschetizky scholars (now all deceased) or their students, were imparted the same kind of pianistic expression, and the list of those pianists who recorded is extensive (it includes Artur Schnabel, Paderewski, and many other greats). Artur Rubinstein made two recordings years apart of the Fantasiestucke for RCA Victor, but I prefer his early mono version to the later stereo one. There are, of course, countless recordings of the Fantasiestucke.

I was a bit surprised by your reaction to Vladimir Ashkenazy's recorded Schumann. His seven-CD set on Decca [470 915, all Schumann], I thought, was one of his finer projects and I have turned to it many times. Not too many Russian/Ukrainian pianists have impressed me playing Schumann, though there have been some, such as Gilels and Richter.

I will be curious to know what you do regarding these pieces. Please keep us informed.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Belle
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Re: Schumann

Post by Belle » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:53 pm


maestrob
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Re: Schumann

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:32 pm

I'm for Richter on DGG. Another (now obscure) favorite of mine is Guiomar Novaes, an outstanding pianist from the first half of the last century:

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