Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

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Lance
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Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Lance » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:12 pm

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Brilliant 94008, 13 CDs, 1 CD-ROM w/notes, etc.

Given 13 CDs, this boxed set includes ONLY Schumann's SOLO piano music plus the Piano Concerto in A Minor, the only concerted work in this collection. As is usual with Brilliant recordings, these performances are mostly reissued with license from the original issuers, including DSD, Vox, YPF Productions, Chandos, Olympia. There are some original Brilliant recordings included, such as those rendered by Klára Würtz.

Most of Schumann's music has been recorded by among some of the finest and most known and legendary pianists in the world. I need not mention those names. In a box set such as this Brilliant set, one seems names that are familiar, such as Peter Frankl, Ronald Brautigam, and Klára Würtz, the latter who has made a deep impression on pianophiles mostly through her Brilliant label recordings.

The obvious good thing about a collection of this nature is the diversity of pianists, pianos, sound quality, and general musicianship among all the pianists presented.

I have been auditioning this set today, being "picky" on the repertoire somewhat. My first listening took CD 8 with pianist Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy performing three Schumann works: The ABEGG Variations, Op. 1; the Intermezzi, Op. 4, and the Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13, the latter which include 5 posthumous variations. You may recall a while back I posted on Schumann's Intermezzo, Op. 4, a set of six individual pieces, several of which contain that special piano magic that Schumann brings to so much of his music. In Schmitt-Leonardy's performances, I found exactly the artistic elements in the Intermezzi, Op. 4 that I have not found by other pianists (particularly in Movement II [presto a capriccioso] and Movement V (allegro moderato). And I also listed to a refreshingly wonderful approach to the ever-popular Symphonic Etudes. When I heard Schmitt-Leonardy offer the Etude XI (con espressione), and the kind of musical expression that takes one's breath away, I had to find out information about his background.

German classical pianist Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy (b. 1967) studied with Bernd Glemser, Michael Ponti, Adrian Aeschbacher, Vitalij Margulis, György Sebok and Alexis Weissenberg. Seeing the name of Adrian Aeschbacher there was key to me in hearing something special in Schmitt-Leonardy's pianism for that kind of playing is especially noteworthy in Aeschbacher's recordings of which I rarely knew until CMGer Werner Isler made that introduction to me in a grand manner; Donald Isler followed it up with a CD-release on his own KASP label of Adrian Aeschbacher, worth its weight in gold.

The other pianists included in this really remarkable set include:

Klára Würtz: Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Fantasy in C, Op. 67; Piano Sonata #1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11; Piano Sonata #2 in G Minor, Op. 22; Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 [w/Northwest German Philharmonic, Arie van Beek, conductor]; Faschingsswank aus Wien, Op. 26; Fantasiestücke, Op. 12; Waldszenen, Op. 82; Arabeske, Op. 18; Kinderszenen, Op. 15.

Ronald Brautigam: Allegro, Op. 8; Fantasiestücke, Op. 111; Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133.

Luba Edlina: Album for Die Jugend, Op. 68.

Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy: Carnaval, Op. 9; Nachtücke, Op. 23; Toccata, Op. 7; 4 Klavierstücke, Op. 32; Presto Passionato (original finale of Sonata No. 2).

Mariana Inzman: Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6; Papillons, Op. 2; Concert sans Orchestre (First Version of the Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 14).

Peter Frankl: Impromptus on a Theme by Clara Wieck, Op. 5; Humoreske, Op. 20; New Album for the Young; Etudes (6) for Piano on the Violin Caprices of Paganini, Op 3; Six Concert Studies on Paganini Caprices, Op. 10; Three Sonatas for the Young: #1 in G Major, Op. 118A; #2 in D Major, Op. 118B; #3 in C Major, Op. 118C; Bunte Blätter, Op. 99; Albumblätter; Blumenstuck in D-flat Major, Op. 19; Four Fugues, Op. 72; Albumblätter, Op. 124; Three Romances, Op. 28; Theme and Variations in E-flat, WoO 24; Canon 'An Alexis', Op. Posth.; Four Marches, Op. 76; Seven Pieces in the Form of Fughettas, Op. 126; Scherzo in F Minor, WoO5/1; Variations on a Theme of Beethoven [Symphony #7], WoO 31.

Disc 13: contains an electronic booklet in PDF format which can be accessed from any computer with a CD-ROM drive and Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or better.

This is truly a most worthwhile set. Even if all the pianists do not touch your fancy, discovering one or two is worth it. I've already known and very much appreciated Klára Würtz's Schumann recordings, and Peter Frankl's (originally issued on the Vox labels) have received great critical acclaim in the past. For me, discovering Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy's Schumann recordings is discovering a pianist of major intellectual force who has a complete command of technique and interpretation.

Also giving a listen to Peter Frankl, particularly the Schumann Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, WoO 31 inspired by the latter's Symphony No. 7. The transfer from the original Vox recordings (made in 1974) are exceptionally lifelike and natural. (One even slightly hears the subway running under the streets of NYC!) Frankl's pianism is about as good as it gets in this music, too.

If you've had enough Schumann during the Schumann year, you may still want to investigate this excellent set from Brilliant Classics. It, along with the Deutsche Grammophon 35-CD Schumann set [477 8816] will give you enormous musical pleasure. [The EMI Schumann 21-CD set came in recently, spread over four jewel boxes. The only thing one needs is more time to hear everything - and to hear it more than once!] ♪
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Lance » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:08 pm

Any takers on this Brilliant Classics boxed set? Anybody else on CMG have this? Interested in your opinion on some of the pianists and/or performances.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:22 am

Lance wrote:Any takers on this Brilliant Classics boxed set? Anybody else on CMG have this? Interested in your opinion on some of the pianists and/or performances.
Why consider this when the DG box is so much better value and has better recordings...I did buy the Sony Box for 40 Bucks, it was worth it for Dichterliebe with Fischer-Dieskau and Horowitz... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Lance » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:32 am

Well, one reason is to consider the PIANISTS, all of which are quite incredible. I mentioned one already that was extraordinary. I didn't bother with the Sony/RCA=BMG box because I have nearly everything that's in it on original issues. That was the most disappointing Schumann boxed tribute I've seen from any of the labels. You could have acquired the Fischer-Dieskau/Horowitz/Schumann/Dichterliebe on Sony 46743 for $20 instead of going for the Big Box. That Dichterliebe is still being made available. Here's what it looks like:

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Chalkperson wrote:
Lance wrote:Any takers on this Brilliant Classics boxed set? Anybody else on CMG have this? Interested in your opinion on some of the pianists and/or performances.
Why consider this when the DG box is so much better value and has better recordings...I did buy the Sony Box for 40 Bucks, it was worth it for Dichterliebe with Fischer-Dieskau and Horowitz... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Ken
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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Ken » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:19 am

The reference set for Schumann's complete solo piano works must remain Jörg Demus's, which is still available on the Arte Nova label (I believe) at budget price. Demus's highly balanced interpretations offer the listener somewhat of an 'objective' lens on the composer's three-decade output.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Lance » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:20 am

I have this Demus Schumann edition. My copy appears on Nuova Era [7353, 13 CDs], which was acquired in 2003 inexpensively. I was disappointed in the recording quality and occasionally out-of-tune pianos though some works played by Demus were excellent. I have known Demus's work on discs for many years and have much respect for him. Too bad it wasn't DGG who made these recordings under, perhaps, more favourable acoustic conditions. I haven't checked lately, but I recall that this edition was incomplete with regard to ALL of Schumann's solo piano music. I"ll have to verify that, however.
Ken wrote:The reference set for Schumann's complete solo piano works must remain Jörg Demus's, which is still available on the Arte Nova label (I believe) at budget price. Demus's highly balanced interpretations offer the listener somewhat of an 'objective' lens on the composer's three-decade output.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Chalkperson
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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:30 pm

Lance wrote:Well, one reason is to consider the PIANISTS, all of which are quite incredible. I mentioned one already that was extraordinary. I didn't bother with the Sony/RCA=BMG box because I have nearly everything that's in it on original issues. That was the most disappointing Schumann boxed tribute I've seen from any of the labels. You could have acquired the Fischer-Dieskau/Horowitz/Schumann/Dichterliebe on Sony 46743 for $20 instead of going for the Big Box. That Dichterliebe is still being made available. Here's what it looks like:

Image]
I had hardly any of the Sony/RCA Recordings and whilst I was considering buying the ArkivMusik re-issue of Dichterliebe it seemed much better value to pay $20 more and get 24 other discs of his Music...as I mentioned elsewhere, it makes an excellent door stop...
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Seán
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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Seán » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:43 pm

I have this lovely Brilliant Classics 3 CD set of Klara Wurtz performances, I do play excerpts from it on a regular basis, its well worth having, she really can tinkle the ivory :wink:

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ROBERT SCHUMANN
Kreisleriana Op. 16;
Fantasia in C major Op. 17;
Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11;
Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 22;
Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26;
Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 54


Klára Würtz (piano)


Brilliant Classics- 99791(CD)
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

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Re: Schumann "Brilliant Box" Edition (13 CDs]

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:23 pm

Seán wrote: I do play excerpts from it on a regular basis, its well worth having, she really can tinkle the ivory :wink:
Agreed, she (almost) makes a case for Schumann's piano music... :wink:
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