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Hyperion Records

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The Flight into Egypt (detail) (1609) by Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610)
Track(s) taken from CDA67661
Recording details: June 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2009
Total duration: 11 minutes 4 seconds

'A disc that all Schumann lovers will want to own' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)

'Could this be his best recording yet? … [Fantasiestucke] has a wonderfully considered and luxuriant aspect; the results never sound contrived. That's partly to do with Isserlis's sound, which has a very focused centre to it, but also his utterly intimate relationship with pianist Dénes Várjon. Perhaps the most ravishing item on the disc is the poignant Abendlied … in his hands it's as moving a wordless Lied as anything you could imagine … for all that Isserlis has made many wonderful recordings, not least his seminal Bach suites, I think this might just be his finest yet' (Gramophone)

'This fabulously virtuosic and psychologically complex work [Violin Sonata] forces Isserlis's musicianship up to a new level … Isserlis masters its explosive flourishes and has the vital impetus to manke an eccentric work feel whole' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This music sings and soars, flying to the instrument's highest reaches with dreamy eloquence and a sense of rightness … he plays with fierceness and soul' (The Observer)

'Enhanced by glowingly intimate sound from Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon, Isserlis constantly draws us in with playing of gentle radiance and exquisite nuancing … [Violin Sonata] sets the seal on one of Isserlis's finest discs' (International Record Review)

'The whole programme is a delight, as both artists catch the music's poetic ebb and flow to perfection' (The Sunday Times)

Romanzen for cello and piano, Op 94
December 1849; originally for oboe and piano; alternative versions for violin or clarinet also published

Nicht schnell  [3'10]
Nicht schnell  [4'04]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Romances for oboe, written at the end of that eventful year of 1849, would seem to have been inspired by Schumann’s increasing interest in old legends, which would culminate in his Choral Ballades (including Des Sängers Fluch—‘The singer’s curse’), written in the 1850s. There is something distinctly archaic about the narrator’s voice in this first Romance, while the innocent melody that opens the second suggests the song of an unsullied maiden of yore; as for the third—could that be an ancient nightwatchman whom we hear, calling the town’s soldiers to action, while in the middle section an abandoned sweetheart grieves? Fanciful, perhaps—but then Schumann is occasionally just a touch fanciful …

from notes by Steven Isserlis © 2009

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