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Hyperion Records

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Sister Emilie sleeping (c1848) by Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905)
Track(s) taken from CDA67780
Recording details: November 2009
Das Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Dobbiaco, Italy
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: November 2010
Total duration: 18 minutes 22 seconds

'Here from Angela Hewitt comes a disc to make us marvel anew at Schumann's Romanticism; at his troubled and ecstatic poetry. Everything is played as in the heat of first inspiration, a reflection, perhaps, of a recreative richness mirroring Hewitt's encompassing and versatile repertoire. Few pianists are so brilliantly alive to every passing fancy and whimsicality. And again, few performances could be less studio-bound, more fleet, hallucinatory and above all more deeply imaginative … this is revelatory Schumann-playing—something to cherish' (Gramophone)

'Hewitt's awarenss of counterpoint and her skill at putting it across suits Schumann's colourfully woven textures to perfection … Kinderszenen is balanced just right: never sentimental but always touching and with a delicious sense of intimacy and fun' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hewitt reveals a Romantic streak that is thoroughly in tune with the music … the G minor Sonata demands not only dexterity, power and finesse but also an insight into its mix of ardour and lyricism, all of which Hewitt harnesses in a performance that gloriously caps an exceptional recital' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Hewitt plays 'Traümerei with tender loveliness … [Davidsbündlertänze] Hewitt projects the varying moods very well. She incoroprates the virtuosity of the dynamic pieces into her musical characterization of them, while she sustains the mood of the inward ones … with rapt beauty' (International Record Review)

'Schumann's piano music needs a pianist with supple fingers, fluid pacing, a sense of poetry and multitudinous colours. Angela Hewitt possesses all of these and gives immensely polished performances of three jewels from the mid-1830s' (The Times)

'It's all the more interesting to hear it from the hands of one of today's greatest woman pianists … her fascinating playing of every note-from the (apparent) simplicity of 'Traümerei' in Kinderszenen to the technical and expressive complexities of the second sonata-bears out the truth of this' (Manchester Evening News)

Kinderszenen, Op 15
composer
1838

Hasche-Mann  [0'31]
Bittendes Kind  [0'46]
Glückes genug  [1'13]
Träumerei  [2'43]
Am Kamin  [0'53]
Fast zu ernst  [1'45]
Fürchtenmachen  [1'46]

Other recordings available for download
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)   June 2014 Release
Alfred Cortot (piano)
Sergio Fiorentino (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Friedrich Wieck was, as Schumann discovered, the father-in-law from hell. He so opposed the burgeoning relationship between the composer and his precious daughter—eight years Robert’s junior yet, one imagines, quite feisty enough to know her own mind—that he did everything in his power to break things up between them, from taking Clara on a seven-month concert tour to fighting the engagement in the law courts. As history relates, his efforts came to nothing, and love triumphed. While apart during that long tour in 1838, Robert and Clara wrote constantly to one other, and from Schumann streamed a succession of piano works, not least Kinderszenen, the most touching recollection of childhood. As he wrote to Clara, ‘Perhaps it was an echo of what you once said to me, that “Sometimes I seemed like a child”; anyway, I was suddenly visited by inspiration, and then I knocked off about thirty quaint little things, from which I have selected about twelve … You will enjoy them—though you will have to forget you are a virtuoso.’ When Kinderszenen was published the final tally of pieces was thirteen.

‘Knocked off’ hardly does these pieces justice; despite being modest in dimensions, each piece is as deftly and exquisitely crafted as anything in his more outwardly sophisticated mode. And though certain numbers may be simple enough for a reasonably talented child to play (or at least to stumble through) most are not, as witness the wildly exuberant ‘Knight of the hobbyhorse’ (Ritter vom Steckenpferd) or the manically gleeful ‘Blind man’s buff’ (Hasche-Mann). Among the most touching portraits here are the ‘Pleading child’ (Bittendes Kind), quietly insistent but ending, like the ‘Child falling asleep’ (Kind im Einschlummern), without resolution, tenderly catching the emotional inconsistency of youth. And Schumann conceives it beautifully as a cycle, from the haunting beauty of the opening ‘From foreign lands and people’ (Von fremden Ländern und Menschen), via the spare eloquence of the central ‘Dreaming’ (Träumerei), to the quiet rhetoric of ‘The poet speaks’ (Der Dichter spricht), the subject holding his audience rapt, his soliloquy ending in a whisper at the lower end of the keyboard.

from notes by Harriet Smith © 2014


Other albums featuring this work
'Schumann: Kinderszenen & Waldszenen; Janáček: On the overgrown path I' (CDA68030)
Schumann: Kinderszenen & Waldszenen; Janáček: On the overgrown path I
CDA68030  June 2014 Release  
'A Matthay Miscellany: Rare and unissued recordings' (APR6014)
A Matthay Miscellany: Rare and unissued recordings
APR6014  2CDs for the price of 1 June 2014 Release  
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 1 – 1947 Schumann, Chopin & Debussy' (APR5571)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 1 – 1947 Schumann, Chopin & Debussy
'Sergio Fiorentino – The Early Recordings, Vol. 6 – Schumann' (APR5586)
Sergio Fiorentino – The Early Recordings, Vol. 6 – Schumann

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