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Track(s) taken from CDA67661

Romanzen for cello and piano, Op 94

December 1849; originally for oboe and piano; alternative versions for violin or clarinet also published

Steven Isserlis (cello), Dénes Várjon (piano)
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

Cover artwork: The Flight into Egypt (detail) (1609) by Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610)


'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)
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

Écrites à la fin de la mémorable année 1849, les Romances pour hautbois semblent être nées de l’intérêt croissant de Schumann pour les vieilles légendes, qui trouvera son apogée dans les Ballades chorales (dont Des Sängers Fluch) des années 1850. Il y a comme un net archaïsme dans la voix du narrateur de la première Romance, quand l’innocente mélodie qui inaugure la deuxième évoque le chant d’une jeune fille pure d’autrefois; et dans la troisième, pourrait-ce être un très vieux veilleur de nuit que l’on entend appeler les soldats de la ville à l’action, tandis que, dans la section centrale, une aimée abandonnée est en peine? Fantasque, peut-être—mais alors, Schumann l’est parfois un peu …

extrait des notes rédigées par Steven Isserlis © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Die Romanzen für Oboe, die am Ende des ereignisreichen Jahres 1849 geschrieben wurden, scheinen von Schumanns zunehmendem Interesse an alten Legenden inspiriert zu sein, das in seinen Chorballaden (einschließlich Des Sängers Fluch) kulminierte, die er in den 1850er Jahren komponierte. In der ersten Romanze klingt der Ton des Erzählers entschieden archaisch, während die unbedarfte Melodie, mit der die zweite beginnt, Anklänge an das Lied eines jungfräulichen Mädchens von anno dazumal besitzt. Und könnten wir im dritten vielleicht einen alten Nachtwächter hören, der die Soldaten der Stadt zur Handlung wachruft, während im Mittelteil ein verlassenes Liebchen trauert? Vielleicht etwas fantasievoll—aber Schumann steckt ja gelegentlich voller Fantasie …

aus dem Begleittext von Steven Isserlis © 2009
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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