Works for Piano & Orchestra
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Schumann: Works for Piano and Orchestra
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During his short and turbulent life, Robert Schumann often composed as if in a trance. This exuberance, this impulsivity is particularly apparent in his works for piano and orchestra, all closely connected to his love for Clara Wieck. - "A cross between symphony, concerto and great sonata, not a concerto for the virtuoso" was his aim - and this is brilliantly realized; however, these works require a virtuoso with nimble, as well as strong and sensitive fingers, a pianist able to recreate Schumann's unique romantic world. Gerhard Oppitz achieves this in exemplary fashion, flawlessly mastering the technical demands in an interpretation imbued with a very personal passion for one of our greatest composers - all the while supported by and in dialogue with an orchestra ideally suited to his vision: the Bamberger Symphoniker.
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Being extremely fond of the A-Minor Concerto and already having the Cliburn and Richter SACDs, I purchased this SACD hoping that the additional Schumann Piano Orchestral works would provide at least some of the attributes that make the A-Minor Concerto so enjoyable. Those three additional works are, while neither renowned nor great, enjoyable and I have the sense they will grow on me over time. Thus, considering all the selections on this SACD, am glad to have added this SACD to my collection and would recommend it to those who enjoy Schumann’s A-Minor Concerto or his Symphonies.
I need not go into great detail, as JAC did a great job doing that (and I agree with his much more recommendable suggested alternatives). But I'll summarize by saying that while the playing itself is of high quality, the recording and performances alike are overly warm, overly Romantic, overly smooth and lack sparkle and life. The Tudor recording is as much to blame as the performers for the blandness heard here.
It was fine listening to just once. But, tellingly, I drifted off out of the room almost immediately and began sweeping the floor while it was playing. That pretty much says it all.