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Schubert: Wanderer-Fantasie; Schumann / Clifford Curzon Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, April 11, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

): Previously released in 1949 and 1950s as LP analog discs on London: LPS 83 (Schubert) and LL-1009 (Schumann), respectively./ Compact disc./ Durations: 30:39; 18:34; 20:24./ Program notes by Ray Minshull (10 p. : ports.) inserted in container./ Participants: Clifford Curzon, piano./ Recorded Mar. 1954 (Schumann) and July 1949 (Schubert), Decca Studios, London

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Curzon's performance of Schumann's Fantasy in C, initially released in 1954, remains among the greatest ever recorded. Instead of the stormy theatricality usually heard, the composer's direction that the first movement "be performed very imaginatively and passionately" makes the British pianist respond with a sense of chivalric ardor, no less passionate for all its nobility. Sonorousness is combined with tenderness; attention to detail with grandeur of proportion; and dramatic urgency with meditative lyricism. The majestic second movement march unfolds with unobtrusive power and unflagging rhythm. The Elysian final movement can sound repetitious in less-than-loving hands. But Curzon uses his command of shading, variety of touch, and knowledge of bel canto phrasing to create a sense of rapturous intoxication. He was as happy in miniatures as in large structures. Curzon's magical performance of the same composer's "Kinderszenen" suggests--in its delicacy of color, its exquisite textures, and its heartfelt (and difficult to achieve) simplicity of expression--the best Mozart. His distinguished reading of Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy is heard here in a better-sounding transfer than on the volume dedicated to him in Philips's "Great Pianists" series. --Stephen Wigler
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00004NK2A
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,675 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on April 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Clifford Curzon can make you _hear_ a composer for the first time. That is the case with this recording. He achieves this not by exaggeration but by great sensitivity to the music's ebb and flow. (Be aware that the sound is good but clearly old. After repeated listening, this becomes unimportant.)
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Format: Audio CD
This CD has two technically demanding and overtly "public" pieces - Schumann's C major Fantasie and the Schubert Wanderer-Fantasie - sandwiching the intimate and contemplatively personal Kinderszenen; all wonderful pieces wonderfully played by Clifford Curzon in 1949 and 1954.

Any perceived shortcomings of the monaural recording quality quickly evaporate before Curzon's spellbinding interpretations. It is not surprising that Decca chose to include these recitals in its "Legendary Performances" series for they are indeed legendary. What is surprising is that there is no biographical material supplied in respect of "The Legend" - a strange omission. One should not have to refer to other sources for the most basic information on the performing artist.

Clifford Curzon was, perhaps, the best British pianist of his generation - I say "perhaps" as Solomon has a legitimate claim to this title - and had a particular empathy with the music of both Schumann and Schubert. That empathy is very evident in these recordings which, despite their venerability and competition from later offerings, remain my favourite.

This CD has my five-star commendation.
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Towards the end of Robert Schumann's life, as he became more and more unhinged, he claimed to be taking direct musical dictation from angels. Clifford Curzon's towering and emotionally rich performance of these works leaves you in no doubt that this was indeed the case.

The Fantasie in C major is played with a passion and sensitivity all Curzon's own - it is as though the music was written especially for him; and with the Kinderszenen, he perfectly brings out the crystaline beauty in their apparent, lullabyesque simplicity.

Curzon's performance of Schubert's Wanderer-Fantasie is equally mesmerising. As a pianist, there are few who can match his talent and these recordings have rightly been included in Decca's Legendary Legend series. This comes highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with what the editorial says. The pieces are as colourful as the stained glasses of some great Catherals (partly due to the French influence?) And perhaps he has got it from Schnabel, he has obviously captured the "butterfly by the wings" very well too. His sound as well as playing as a whole, however, reminds us above all of Edwin Fischer save and except a little less improvised! His interpretations on Kinderszenen is almost completely different from say Cortot-Kempff-Arrau, so that they would necessarily make you take another look into these pieces. Highly recommended.
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Curzon was a Schubertian.
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