Schumann vs. Schubert

Schumann or Schubert?

Schumann
8
42%
Schubert
11
58%
 
Total votes: 19

srappoport
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Post by srappoport » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:44 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:All in all, I have to go along with the revisionist theory---Schumann is the "true revolutionary" (Hans Holliger) and "greatest of the 'purely' Romantic composers" (Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms)---according to George Szell, William Boughton and others.
Okay, but how influential was he? What proof is there that successors were changed in a way that but for Schumann's influence they would not have been? This is a question that arises when I think of Bach: okay, he was a great musician, but if nobody except his sons knew his works, and they were busily escaping his style, until Mendelssohn, just how much credit can you give the guy for influence?
Beethoven was familiar with Bach. In writing the Missa Solemnis, he studied one of Bach's choral works. It may have been the St. Matthew Passion.

On the issue of Schubert vs. Schumann, I gag when it is suggested that Schumann was deeper than Schubert, especially with regard to the music produced after Schubert learned of his fatal illness. I am going to a concert tomorrow night (Toyko Quartet); I will try to take a poll of the PCMS staff and will report back on how they voted.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:14 am

srappoport wrote:Beethoven was familiar with Bach. In writing the Missa Solemnis, he studied one of Bach's choral works. It may have been the St. Matthew Passion.

On the issue of Schubert vs. Schumann, I gag when it is suggested that Schumann was deeper than Schubert, especially with regard to the music produced after Schubert learned of his fatal illness. I am going to a concert tomorrow night (Toyko Quartet); I will try to take a poll of the PCMS staff and will report back on how they voted.
Not only Beethoven but Haydn and Mozart knew their Bach well. Quite a few Mozart works show Bach's influence (e.g. the 41st Symphony).

We don't want anyone to get ill here, but I admit to loving the Schubert songs, sonatas, chamber music, masses and all of the early symphonies as well as his greater, more expressive late orchestral works. Although his music is diffuse and prolix, there is always great beauty in his material. His tendency to repetition does not gag me---I smile when I hear it....and think often of Bruckner after him.

Schumann's expression in his late works ironically became even more psychological---a portion of his harmonic language was turning more and more toward that later taken up by Brahms. The question of which composers are "deeper" or "more expressive" than others is largely a matter of who is doing the listening.

Schumann is generally less accessible than Schubert. And this is even more obvious in Schumann's great Third Period, the one musicologists have been re-evaluating. The old urban legend of that period being weak has finally been discarded. Still, some works are not yet fully appreciated by the general concert-going public (some of the late overtures, songs and choral works).

Unquestionably works like the "Manfred" music, the Violin Concerto in d Minor, the 2nd Violin Sonata (op. 121) and the "Szenen aus Goethes 'Faust'" wade into new harmonic regions unknown to Beethoven and Schubert. Wagner and Bruckner were later to explore and develop some of these "dissonances".

Schumann's music has always been highly regarded by 20th century composers like Milhaud, Britten, Copland, Boulez, Holliger and Zender.

We should enjoy both Schubert and Schumann to our heart's and mind's content!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

val
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Post by val » Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:35 am

Jack Kelso
Schumann is generally less accessible than Schubert. And this is even more obvious in Schumann's great Third Period, the one musicologists have been re-evaluating. The old urban legend of that period being weak has finally been discarded. Still, some works are not yet fully appreciated by the general concert-going public (some of the late overtures, songs and choral works).

Unquestionably works like the "Manfred" music, the Violin Concerto in d Minor, the 2nd Violin Sonata (op. 121) and the "Szenen aus Goethes 'Faust'" wade into new harmonic regions unknown to Beethoven and Schubert. Wagner and Bruckner were later to explore and develop some of these "dissonances".
The Szenen aus Goethes Faust were composed between 1844 and 1853.
Wagner composed the Tannhäuser in 1845 and Lohengrin in 1850. Berlioz completed Romeo and Juliette in 1839, Liszt composed Les Années de Pelerinage (first two parts) since 1837.
In my opinion, Schumann had no influence in the composers of the so called "Musique de l'Avenir". The only influence he had was on Brahms and, even in this case, I think that it was a superficial influence, not very important.
That doesn't make Schumann less important, but his value is in his works, not in his influence.
Besides, I strongly disagree to the idea that Schumann became a greater composer with the years. To me, his best works are the piano masterpieces until opus 23, the Lieder until 1840, the piano Quintet, the first piano Trio, the first two Symphonies and the piano Concerto.
Later he composed some great works, "Szenen aus Faust", the two Requiem, Waldszenen, Manfred, but most of his production in the last years shows a much poor inspiration - the 3rd Trio, the Fantasiestücke opus 111, The Rose Pilgerfahrt and the Choral Ballads, and even the Gesänge der Frühe, very touching but only because we know it was his last work (the Variations were never finished): how could we compare them with the Kreisleriana or the Fantasia?

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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:37 am

val wrote:The Szenen aus Goethes Faust were composed between 1844 and 1853.
Wagner composed the Tannhäuser in 1845 and Lohengrin in 1850. Berlioz completed Romeo and Juliette in 1839, Liszt composed Les Années de Pelerinage (first two parts) since 1837.
In my opinion, Schumann had no influence in the composers of the so called "Musique de l'Avenir". The only influence he had was on Brahms and, even in this case, I think that it was a superficial influence, not very important.
That doesn't make Schumann less important, but his value is in his works, not in his influence.
Besides, I strongly disagree to the idea that Schumann became a greater composer with the years. To me, his best works are the piano masterpieces until opus 23, the Lieder until 1840, the piano Quintet, the first piano Trio, the first two Symphonies and the piano Concerto.
Later he composed some great works, "Szenen aus Faust", the two Requiem, Waldszenen, Manfred, but most of his production in the last years shows a much poor inspiration - the 3rd Trio, the Fantasiestücke opus 111, The Rose Pilgerfahrt and the Choral Ballads, and even the Gesänge der Frühe, very touching but only because we know it was his last work (the Variations were never finished): how could we compare them with the Kreisleriana or the Fantasia?
Val, it's not really important to ME whether Schumann influenced all of the composers I mentioned earlier, but expert musicians (whom I've quoted) seem to believe it. Maybe we're all suffering from some form of delusion....?! Or other people don't want it to be....

Funny....you state that his "best symphonies" are the first two, yet I know of no conductor or musicologist who feels the "Spring" Symphony is "better" than any one of the other three. The C Major and E-Flat symphonies are certainly his most mature and expressive.

Val, "hearing" actual influences from composer to composer is not that easy---can you hear Schumann's influence in Dvorâk or Elgar? That might be the test! As to Brahms' chamber music, I'm surprised you don't hear the "deep" similiarities with Schumann (with the exception that the latter is generally more inspired).

You didn't mention other acclaimed great masterpieces of the Third Period: the 'Cello Concerto, op. 129; "Die Braut von Messina", op. 100; the first Violin Sonata, op. 105 (considered by many "the most important violin sonata since Beethoven"); also the "Maria Stuart" songs; the wonderfully poetic (and almost Brahmsian) "Märchenerzählungen" for piano, clarinet and viola, op. 134 (1854!), very nearly Schumann's last work. And Gidon Kramer seems to think the Violin Concerto is a masterpiece, but I wouldn't put it in the category of the Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms or Tschaikowsky.

"Der Rose Pilgerfahrt" is a wonderful work, brimming with melody and fine choral writing (I have both versions); and the opus 111 is a great favorite over here.

I'm pleased you like the Requiem, though. It hasn't "gotten to me" quite yet!

Jack

P.S.: I have an idea, Val---go back to your recordings of these works (and anything else you have from the 3rd period) and listen to them again, this time pretending they're by Brahms. Who knows? Maybe something interesting will happen.....
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:04 am

I think we've hit on this already, but Schubert is perhaps more emotionally immediate than Schumann. This is why I voted for the former rather than the latter. I hear Schubert (and Mendelssohn, for that matter), and I'm usually moved at once. However, I'm slowly getting to grips with Schumann ... warming to his music, you might say.
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:37 am

shadowritten wrote:I think we've hit on this already, but Schubert is perhaps more emotionally immediate than Schumann. This is why I voted for the former rather than the latter. I hear Schubert (and Mendelssohn, for that matter), and I'm usually moved at once. However, I'm slowly getting to grips with Schumann ... warming to his music, you might say.
Yes, most of Schumann's music does not lend itself easily to enjoyment and proper understanding....even for many professional concert artists. Liszt recognized that and seldom played him in public, although privately he adored the works.

If most people would approach his works with the same positive attitude they do with Beethoven or Brahms, they would realize that Schumann's intentions were realistic and technically sound.

One of the primary obstacles in warming to Schumann's music is getting past the dirth of poor to mediocre performances----the songs and piano works do better than the symphonies, but I still find renowned pianists botching parts of the "Fantasy in C" or the "Symphonic Etudes".

WARNING: Any conductor who takes the Schumann Third Symphony in less than 30 minutes (and there are several out there!) should be strapped into a chair and forced to listen to Rimsky-Korssakov's "Flight of the Bumble-bee" four hundred times.

Amazingly, only Karajan carries off the 4th mvt (Feierlich) of this noble work with the proper dignity and slow majesty the composer intended. Also, the best recording overall!! (well, so far)

Great listening!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by karlhenning » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:43 am

Hi, Jack!
Jack Kelso wrote:WARNING: Any conductor who takes the Schumann Third Symphony in less than 30 minutes (and there are several out there!) should be strapped into a chair and forced to listen to Rimsky-Korssakov's "Flight of the Bumble-bee" four hundred times.
Well, Zinman's clocks at 29:50, so I'll exempt him from The Torment :-)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:50 am

karlhenning wrote:Hi, Jack!
Jack Kelso wrote:WARNING: Any conductor who takes the Schumann Third Symphony in less than 30 minutes (and there are several out there!) should be strapped into a chair and forced to listen to Rimsky-Korssakov's "Flight of the Bumble-bee" four hundred times.
Well, Zinman's clocks at 29:50, so I'll exempt him from The Torment :-)
No you won't. He's the first one on my list! And John Elliott Gardner comes in later after I've de-magnetized the stereo!

Jack
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Post by karlhenning » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:31 am

Jack, consider! -- ten seconds. Do let us be merciful! 8)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:53 am

karlhenning wrote:Jack, consider! -- ten seconds. Do let us be merciful! 8)
No, no! They shall be stung by Nikolas' bee!

Since there is no possibility of :] repeat of the exposition in the 1st mvt, timings are consistent. Even 31 minutes is too quick, but I COULD make an exception if the 4th mvt is given its just due. But where, oh where does such a 30-minute conductor want to rush and make up the lost time----maybe the 3rd mvt "Nicht schnell"!?

Bernstein/NY Phil AND Vienna/Phil delivered fine performances up to the coda of the 5th mvt and then----POW, BAM, BOOM-BOOM, he accelerated like a banshee out of limbo----ruining the entire thing. (Hmmm...maybe his stop-watch read "29:42"...?!)

Reasonable timings are listed on the Karajan/Berlin Phil/DGG label.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by ichiro » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:07 pm

To get back to the Schumann vs Schubert, for me I really like both composers, but Schumann is closer to my heart. For me, I think he is the only composer in the world apart from Beethoven (of course) that can really give you a sense of an inner, private life in music. I think to music like Kreisleriana, Carnaval, Davidsbundler, and the way they combine fantasy, play, and inner thought is incredible

Not to say i dont like Schubert, his symphonies are great, his trios are excellent, the only fault for him, is to me, his music sounds a bit too precious.

My vote goes to Schumann.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:18 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Well, outside of "Träumerei" Schumann's influence was powerful in the extreme: listen to "Prophet Bird" from "Waldszenen", op. 82. It's pure Debussy half a century before the Frenchman; Wagner, Raff, Grieg, Brahms, Lalo, Tschaikowsky, Elgar, Pfitzner, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Shostakowitsch, --even Schoenberg and Webern admitted to being influenced to some extent by Schumann...and one can hear it or notice it in the forms they chose. Friedrich Nietzsche, once a Wagner-lover, admitted that Schumann's influence was "even more pervasive" that Wagner's, although he didn't mean it as a compliment!
Thanks, Jack! Very informative. I have a new appreciation for Schumann. I knew he influenced Brahms, but didn't know exactly how, this not being my particular interest in a period that doesn't particularly interest me. I love Brahms' lieder, but they don't sound anything like Schumann's. There are moments in Brahms, "depressing reality intrudes" I call 'em, that do remind me of Schumann.

I knew you meant Heinz not Hans. :wink:
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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:17 am

ichiro wrote:For me, I think he is the only composer in the world apart from Beethoven (of course) that can really give you a sense of an inner, private life in music. I think to music like Kreisleriana, Carnaval, Davidsbundler, and the way they combine fantasy, play, and inner thought is incredible

Not to say i dont like Schubert, his symphonies are great, his trios are excellent, the only fault for him, is to me, his music sounds a bit too precious.

My vote goes to Schumann.
Very well put.

I feel Schumann has (with Handel and Beethoven) the widest emotional wave-length of all composers.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by val » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:44 am

Jack Kelso

Funny....you state that his "best symphonies" are the first two, yet I know of no conductor or musicologist who feels the "Spring" Symphony is "better" than any one of the other three. The C Major and E-Flat symphonies are certainly his most mature and expressive.
I should have mentioned all the four. In fact I prefer and by far the first two, in special the second, but many people have other opinions, preferring the 3rd. The 4th has beautiful ideas but it's structure is poor, based in the thematic repetition, not in development (and the cyclic idea doesn't convince me either).
Regarding the opinion of conductors, remember Furtwängler, when he was recording the 4th.
Val, "hearing" actual influences from composer to composer is not that easy---can you hear Schumann's influence in Dvorâk or Elgar? That might be the test! As to Brahms' chamber music, I'm surprised you don't hear the "deep" similiarities with Schumann (with the exception that the latter is generally more inspired).
I was more concerned on the supposed influences regarding the composers associated with the idea of "musique de l'avenir", such as Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner.
I accept that we can see some influences in Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Grieg, but those influences appear, in general, in conservative composers: you can't find those influences in Mussorgsky, Debussy, Janacek, just to name some composers of the last decades of the XIX century and first decades of the XX.
About Brahms: there is an influence of Schumann, the same way there is an influence of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert. But Brahms, in special in his chamber music is so genial, so personal, that it seems absurd to try to dig here and there a little similitude with his predecessors.
You didn't mention other acclaimed great masterpieces of the Third Period: the 'Cello Concerto, op. 129; "Die Braut von Messina", op. 100; the first Violin Sonata, op. 105 (considered by many "the most important violin sonata since Beethoven"); also the "Maria Stuart" songs; the wonderfully poetic (and almost Brahmsian) "Märchenerzählungen" for piano, clarinet and viola, op. 134 (1854!), very nearly Schumann's last work. And Gidon Kramer seems to think the Violin Concerto is a masterpiece, but I wouldn't put it in the category of the Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms or Tschaikowsky.
The first violin Sonata is beautiful. But, the best since Beethoven? And Brahms 3 Sonatas? And Franck, Debussy, Bartok, Enescu?
Agree with you in one point: I should have mentioned the Maria Stuart Lieder. They are great works.
P.S.: I have an idea, Val---go back to your recordings of these works (and anything else you have from the 3rd period) and listen to them again, this time pretending they're by Brahms. Who knows? Maybe something interesting will happen.....
I have the complete piano works. By coincidence I am listening them again, for the third time, but, since I have several versions it will take sometime to finish it.
Right now I am with the opus 13.

And regarding those masterpieces (Papillons, Davidsbuntlertänze, Carnaval, First Sonata, Fabntasiestücke opus 12. Etudes Symphoniques, Kreisleriana, Fantasia, Humoresque) I have no doubt: with Debussy this is the greatest piano music ever composed since Beethoven (and I am not forgetting Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt or Bartok).

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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:43 am

val wrote:The 4th has beautiful ideas but it's structure is poor, based in the thematic repetition, not in development (and the cyclic idea doesn't convince me either).
Regarding the opinion of conductors, remember Furtwängler, when he was recording the 4th..... But Brahms, in special in his chamber music is so genial, so personal, that it seems absurd to try to dig here and there a little similitude with his predecessors.
Schumann's Symphony No. 4 in d Minor, opus 120 (the revised version) is considered to be one of the landmarks of symphonic thought. The whole work is constructed from a 3-note cell, which gave Brahms the impulse for the Allegro non troppo of his own Second Symphony. What's this about Furtwängler and Schumann's Fourth...?! I have the recording.

Some Brahms chamber music just doesn't buy it with me---too much "plodding sameness" or B. H. Haggin's critique, "labored and bombastic proclamations, with stretches of arid manipulation."

I truly wish it would do more for me.

Schumann's piano music is still the pinnacle. Thereafter comes Beethoven and Chopin, then Mozart and probably Debussy, whom I enjoy but find it like a lot of French art: decorative.

Yes, the Symphonic Etudes are marvellous---but then again it's what pianist Andras Schiff said: "Everything by Schumann is wonderful!"

Jack
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Post by karlhenning » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:49 am

Jack Kelso wrote:I feel Schumann has (with Handel and Beethoven) the widest emotional wave-length of all composers.
I like that, Jack, only I should say:

Schumann (with Handel, Beethoven, Berlioz, Prokofiev & Stravinsky)

:-)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:00 am

karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:I feel Schumann has (with Handel and Beethoven) the widest emotional wave-length of all composers.
I like that, Jack, only I should say:

Schumann (with Handel, Beethoven, Berlioz, Prokofiev & Stravinsky)

:-)
Bravo! Your additions make sense to me, too.

Grüße,
Jack
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Post by rogch » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:47 am

I actuallly voted for Schumann here. I say "actually" because a year ago i probably would have voted for Schubert without hesitation. But with Schumann i often discover new and unexpected aspects in his music. I can't say the same about Schubert who very much gives me the same listening experiences he always has. The exception is his music for solo piano, i think this has been very underrated in this debate. Some of Schubert's movements for piano are much more complex and emotional than they seem the first time you hear them. But Schubert's string quartets? Overrated i would say (but doesn't he have a brilliant string trio? I very much like his chamber music with piano, even if they are not among the most original pieces written. Symphonies? The fifth and ninth are OK, but not great. And the unfinnished? Two movements are more than enough. Songs? Don't know, but from the songs i have heard i would say that Mahler and Debussy beat both of them hands down.

I am glad to say that Jack Kelso's enthusiasm for Schumann has made me more interested in his music. I guess that is what this forum is here for! But i would still say that Jack and Karl are a little "over the top" in their enthusiasm for Schumann. I can't agree that Schumann is " the most original, poetic and powerful composer the piano has ever known". What about Beethoven and Messiaen? And i do not agree that Schumann has more depth than Chopin. More intense, yes. But emotional intensity is not the same as emotional depth. And even if Nietzsche has said that Schumann had a bigger impact than Wagner that doesn't have to mean that it is true. I suspect that many musicologists would disagree with that statement.
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Post by karlhenning » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:47 pm

rogch wrote:. . . But i would still say that Jack and Karl are a little "over the top" in their enthusiasm for Schumann. I can't agree that Schumann is " the most original, poetic and powerful composer the piano has ever known".
Oh, I couldn't endorse that, either.

I think, Roger, you may find me more moderate in my enthusiasm for Schumann than Jack :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by karlhenning » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:51 pm

rogch wrote:And even if Nietzsche has said that Schumann had a bigger impact than Wagner that doesn't have to mean that it is true.
If ever that had been true, it was well before The Great Wagner Promotional Behemoth kicked into gear :-)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Mon May 01, 2006 12:18 am

My "enthusiasm for Schumann" is no less misplaced or "over the top" than is some folks enthusiasm for Bach, Brahms or other masters.

Schumann is still underrated in the area of choral/dramatic works.

Good listening to you all!

Jack
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Post by karlhenning » Mon May 01, 2006 7:45 am

Jack Kelso wrote:My "enthusiasm for Schumann" is no less misplaced or "over the top" than is some folks enthusiasm for Bach, Brahms or other masters.
No need to cast enthusiasm for Schumann in 'scare-quotes', Jack! Let your light shine! 8)
Schumann is still underrated in the area of choral/dramatic works.
Hmm, I don't know any of these (which is not, strictly speaking, underrating them)
Good listening to you all!
Same to you, with knobs on, Jack! 8)
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Post by ichiro » Mon May 01, 2006 10:40 pm

I've been listening to Schumann's Fantasy in C for like a year, and though i always thought it very good, I didn't see it as the masterpiece many have claimed

I put it on again tonight, and all of the sudden im completely blown away by the last movement. So very profound.

My question: can someone familiar with the piece suggest somtheing with the same intensity, and profundity (except Beethoven though). Thanks

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue May 02, 2006 12:06 am

ichiro wrote:I've been listening to Schumann's Fantasy in C for like a year, and though i always thought it very good, I didn't see it as the masterpiece many have claimed

I put it on again tonight, and all of the sudden im completely blown away by the last movement. So very profound.

My question: can someone familiar with the piece suggest somtheing with the same intensity, and profundity (except Beethoven though). Thanks
Yes. Schumann's (oh no, not again!) "Kreisleriana", opus 16. Just recently I listened to a radio analysis (one hour) of this work. Very much of an eye-opener for me, since for years it never "got to me".

Jack
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Post by ichiro » Tue May 02, 2006 2:13 am

Another general question: can you guys suggest the best 3 or 4 recordings of the Schumann Piano Concerto?

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue May 02, 2006 2:27 am

ichiro wrote:Another general question: can you guys suggest the best 3 or 4 recordings of the Schumann Piano Concerto?
I'm not really terribly informed about the newest recordings, but my personal favorite is the Serkin/Ormandy/Philadelphia on a re-issued Columbia CD and has wonderful sound and great clarity, a must with me. Backhaus has an older recording---a little heavy at points, but very expressive.

Van Cliburn with Reiner is also a winner in my book.

Martha Argerich is a Schumann specialist and has a wonderful way with almost everything I've heard her do so far. But I haven't heard her with the Concerto....

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by val » Tue May 02, 2006 2:31 am

I would also vote for Serkin/Ormandy, not forgetting Haskil/van Otterloo, Rubinstein/Giulini and, in a lesser degree, Bishop Kovacevich / Davis. The old versions of Gieseking/Karajan and Lipatti/Karajan never enthusiasmed me.

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Post by Lance » Tue May 02, 2006 9:58 am

ichiro wrote:Another general question: can you guys suggest the best 3 or 4 recordings of the Schumann Piano Concerto?
There are so many recordings of Schumann's Piano Concerto that it is next to impossible (at least for me) to come forth with one top recommendation. From major labels, however, I have selected pairings that I think are worthy of consideration. I haven't even plugged into other than major labels and there are a huge number of recordings to consider there as well. But here's some pairings (pianists/conductors) that are top ranking with catalogue numbers I have, but which could also have changed with reissues. Have fun looking!
  • Eugene Istomin/Bruno Walter: Sony 42024 or 64489
  • Leon Fleisher/George Szell: Sony 44849
  • Rudolf Serkin/Eugene Ormandy: Sony 37256, 93908 [5170042]
  • Clara Haskil/Ernest Ansermet: Decca-London 425.968
  • Wilhelm Kempff/Josef Krips: Decca-London 433.404
  • Radu Lupu/Andre Previn: Decca-London 466.383
  • Walter Gieseking/Wilhelm Furtwängler: DGG 427.779 or 471.269
  • Sviatoslav Richter/Wislocki: DGG 447.440
  • Martha Argerich/Rabinowitch: EMI 57773
  • Solomon/Herbert Menges: EMI 63050 or 67735
  • Annie Fischer/Otto Klemperer: EMI 64145
  • Walter Gieseking/Herbert von Karajan: EMI 66597
  • Yves Nat/Eugene Bigot: EMI 67141
  • Dinu Lipatti/von Karajan: EMI 69792, 67775
  • Clara Haskil/van Otterloo: Philips 420.851 or 426.964
  • Van Cliburn/Fritz Reiner: RCA 60420
  • Artur Rubinstein/Joseph Krips: RCA 61444 or 60339
  • Artur Rubinstein/Carlo Maria Giulini: RCA 60353 or 6255
  • Benno Moiseiwitsch/Otto Ackermann: Testament 1187.
While all of these are wonderful performances (some historical and less than high fidelity), I've embolded those that would be first picks for me if I had to have just a few. Even among those, the styles are quite different in interpretation. In the RCA Rubinstein/Giulini recording, everything seemed to go everyone's way and this is a stunning performance in every respect - if one had to choose just ONE. The list, by the way, could be greatly enhanced with other pianists/conductors. This is just a starter for you. And, everyone's opinions will be different. We simply cannot agree on the best one or two performances of all time on records.
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Post by Werner » Tue May 02, 2006 11:05 am

Lance, I se you've included one of my favorite classics, namely Dinu Lipatti - but what about Myra Hess?
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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Tue May 02, 2006 6:48 pm

ichiro wrote:Another general question: can you guys suggest the best 3 or 4 recordings of the Schumann Piano Concerto?
Unfortunately this is the only recording I have, however, it's considered a watermark by many....

Try Richter's Schumann disc. The filler is also wonderful.

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Post by ichiro » Thu May 04, 2006 2:09 pm

What dya guys think of the Schumann recording with Helene Grimaud and Zinman?

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Post by miranda » Thu May 04, 2006 9:35 pm

I am woefully ignorant about Schumann, and really pretty ignorant about Schubert as well, deficiencies that I do intend to remedy one of these days. I voted for Schubert because I have Gidon Kremer's recording of Schubert's String Quartet for G major (on the ECM label), and an 8 cd set of Mitsuko Uchida playing Schubert Piano sonatas (on the Phillips label), both recordings which I love immensely, and really should listen to more often.
As I said, I know nothing about Schumann. If one has to pick a single Schumann recording to start with, what would it be? Anyone got any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance..........

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 05, 2006 1:33 am

miranda wrote: If one has to pick a single Schumann recording to start with, what would it be? Anyone got any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance..........
Kinderszenen
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Post by val » Fri May 05, 2006 2:57 am

miranda

As I said, I know nothing about Schumann. If one has to pick a single Schumann recording to start with, what would it be? Anyone got any suggestions for me?
I suggest the recent and beautiful recording of Nelson Freire (DECCA) with Papillons, Carnaval opus 9, Kinderszenen and the Arabesque opus 18. It is the most inspired interpretation of Schumann piano works that I listened to in the last 20 years.

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Post by miranda » Fri May 05, 2006 1:52 pm

Thank you val and Corlyss. Now I know what to look for!

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 05, 2006 3:37 pm

val wrote:
miranda

As I said, I know nothing about Schumann. If one has to pick a single Schumann recording to start with, what would it be? Anyone got any suggestions for me?
I suggest the recent and beautiful recording of Nelson Freire (DECCA) with Papillons, Carnaval opus 9, Kinderszenen and the Arabesque opus 18. It is the most inspired interpretation of Schumann piano works that I listened to in the last 20 years.
I'm glad you thought of all the ones I wanted to recommend but couldn't think of. I like Schumann's small ball and his song cycles way more than his swinging for the fences, but I don't listen enough to him even to recall handily what he wrote.
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Post by Jack Kelso » Mon May 08, 2006 1:56 am

Corlyss_D wrote:I'm glad you thought of all the ones I wanted to recommend but couldn't think of. I like Schumann's small ball and his song cycles way more than his swinging for the fences, but I don't listen enough to him even to recall handily what he wrote.
That surprises me, Corlyss. I thought you had a balanced understanding of his output. Admittedly, Schumann's larger works can give many open-minded listeners trouble---for many reasons.

Here's one good cure: memorizing the Second Symphony in C, op. 61, the Trio No. 1 in d Minor, op. 63 and "Das Paradies und die Peri", op. 50. Other medicines might help, too.....

Happy listening!
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by IcedNote » Mon May 08, 2006 9:06 am

miranda wrote: As I said, I know nothing about Schumann. If one has to pick a single Schumann recording to start with, what would it be? Anyone got any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance..........
:arrow: Dichterliebe

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Post by srappoport » Mon May 08, 2006 2:21 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Here's one good cure: memorizing the Second Symphony in C, op. 61, the Trio No. 1 in d Minor, op. 63 and "Das Paradies und die Peri", op. 50. Other medicines might help, too.....

Jack
I like the Second Symphony too. Why do you suppose that it is not more popular?

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Post by karlhenning » Mon May 08, 2006 2:50 pm

srappoport wrote:I like the Second Symphony too. Why do you suppose that it is not more popular?
Who knows? Why is the Beethoven Fourth Symphony not more popular?
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Post by srappoport » Mon May 08, 2006 3:22 pm

karlhenning wrote:
srappoport wrote:I like the Second Symphony too. Why do you suppose that it is not more popular?
Who knows? Why is the Beethoven Fourth Symphony not more popular?
Because the majority of people who have heard of Beethoven know of the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Symphonies. Everything else gets crowded out, it seems. But Schumann's Second Symphony does not face that sort of competition from his other works.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue May 09, 2006 12:47 am

srappoport wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:Here's one good cure: memorizing the Second Symphony in C, op. 61, the Trio No. 1 in d Minor, op. 63 and "Das Paradies und die Peri", op. 50. Other medicines might help, too.....

Jack
I like the Second Symphony too. Why do you suppose that it is not more popular?
It is! There are dozens of fine recordings of it and here in Germany it's played very often on radio, scheduled in concert programs and enjoys a reputation as one of the greatest of 19th century symphonies. Only Schumann's 3rd ("Rheinische") and Brahms' Fourth symphonies exceed it in popularity (after Beethoven, of course!).

It's the other two that are under-appreciated---the Trio possibly because it is an exhausting (but exhilarating!) work to play and to hear. Thirty-eight minutes of power emotions is a hugh content for any chamber work. I still prefer it to the far-more-famous Piano Quintet.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by karlhenning » Tue May 09, 2006 9:19 am

Jack Kelso wrote:. . . I still prefer it to the far-more-famous Piano Quintet.
Now, wait just the one minute which picks cotton, Jack! :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by Jack Kelso » Wed May 10, 2006 12:03 am

karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:. . . I still prefer it to the far-more-famous Piano Quintet.
Now, wait just the one minute which picks cotton, Jack! :-)

Cheers,
~Karl
It's true, Karl. Even according to Phillip Spitta, "the Trio goes even higher and farther than the Quintet."

Of course, one cannot go wrong with ANY of Schumann's chamber works.....

Best regards,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by karlhenning » Wed May 10, 2006 10:17 am

Jack, whom do you recommend in the Cello Concerto? And what do you think of the Shostakovich re-orchestration?
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu May 11, 2006 3:49 am

karlhenning wrote:Jack, whom do you recommend in the Cello Concerto? And what do you think of the Shostakovich re-orchestration?
I wasn't aware of anyone having tampered with the orchestration, least of all Schostakowitsch.

First off, I love the Schumann Cello Concerto as he wrote it; I don't see where anyone could or should improve on the intended sparceness of the orchestral parts. Why gild the lily?

The recording I first learned to love was Janos Starker with the Philharmonia Orchestra on Angel, a recording I no longer possess (I've forgotten who conducted). But there are several very fine ones out there, like Jacqueline DuPres and Leonard Rose.

This work is the most popular (or most often-played) of all cello concerti here in Germany and is rightly regarded as one of Schumann's great masterpieces. I heard Mischa Maisky play it live in Mannheim (with the Symphony Orchestra of Rheinland-Pfalz). His was a little idiosyncratic, but finely interpreted and technically marvelous.....don't know if he's got a recording of it, though....

I suppose the worst thing that could happen in a performance of the work would be to drag it---the finale especially must be very snappy but not cold or rushed.

Best regards,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by karlhenning » Thu May 11, 2006 7:48 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
karlhenning wrote:Jack, whom do you recommend in the Cello Concerto? And what do you think of the Shostakovich re-orchestration?
I wasn't aware of anyone having tampered with the orchestration, least of all Schostakowitsch.

First off, I love the Schumann Cello Concerto as he wrote it; I don't see where anyone could or should improve on the intended sparceness of the orchestral parts. Why gild the lily?
But, from another perspective, Jack . . . is the Mozart orchestration of, say, Handel's Messiah a matter of "gilding the lily", or a valid document of one great artist's homage to another?

I think there is room to steer away from "purity and inviolability of The Text" issues, and towards an idea of creative variant (which is not "hostile takeover").

We heard the Schumann Concerto at Symphony Hall, youngish German soloist, Alban Gerhardt . . . much enjoyed it (which made me wonder that some musical friends of mine scorn the concerto) . . . OTOH, the beginning of the (a?) Yo-Yo Ma recording which was broadcast the other night on WCRB, left one with an indifferent impression of the piece.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu May 11, 2006 8:13 am

karlhenning wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
karlhenning wrote:Jack, whom do you recommend in the Cello Concerto? And what do you think of the Shostakovich re-orchestration?
I wasn't aware of anyone having tampered with the orchestration, least of all Schostakowitsch.

First off, I love the Schumann Cello Concerto as he wrote it; I don't see where anyone could or should improve on the intended sparceness of the orchestral parts. Why gild the lily?
But, from another perspective, Jack . . . is the Mozart orchestration of, say, Handel's Messiah a matter of "gilding the lily", or a valid document of one great artist's homage to another?
In principle you're right, Karl. In Mozart's case it wasn't "tampering" in my opinion, since I actually prefer his beefing-up of the orchestral forces in "Messiah".

To be fair, I would have to hear the Schostakowitsch version and then decide. It was probably a labor of love by the Russian. I'm glad you appreciate the concerto---it's difficult for me to comprehend how anyone could NOT enjoy the work....except, of course, in a poor performance.

Thanks, Karl---for opening my mind a bit to other possibilities. I'm not so old as to get "set in my ways"! (But I might need a little reminder on occasion). :wink:

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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