Winner of Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros, this set brings together Robert Schumann's complete works for solo piano. This great cycle benefited from having been recorded in the unique acoustics of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by the same recording engineer, Jean-Marc Laisné.
"The years spent by Robert Schumann and his Clara in Dresden were a time of perfect happiness, and in 1849 the composer, like a teenager, presented his dearest with a Romanze pervaded by intense passion. An outstanding recording of Schumann’s complete works for violoncello and piano from this time transports us up to the couple’s seventh heaven. The Schumann specialist Aya Ishihara plays Clara’s role at a Steinway grand piano (1901), and her experienced duo partner Klaus Storck is heard as the emotionally profound cellist playing an Italian “Spiritus Sorsana” cello (made in 1730 in Cunei)…"
By late summer of 1837, the 27-year-old Schumann was secretly engaged to his beloved Clara Wieck. The powerful emotions connected with this event were a stimulus to Schumann’s creative impulses, for he was a Romantic through & through. It was at this time that he composed the deeply personal Davidsbundlertanze -18 dances inspired by the imaginary league of David. This fellowship, invented by Schumann, consisted of Schumann’s own alter egos, plus a number of well-respected musicians & friends including Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The group was established as a way of fighting against the Philistines; it was Schumann’s response to contemporary musical trends which he saw as cheap, excessively virtuosic, & superficial.
…Writing of the chamber music of Friedrich Kiel, the famous scholar and critic Wilhelm Altmann notes that it was Kiel’s extreme modesty which kept him and his exceptional works from receiving the consideration they deserved. After mentioning Johannes Brahms and others, Altmann writes, “He produced a number of chamber works, which . . . need fear no comparison.”…
“Presenting Friedrich Kiel“. Hans Zentgraf’s MDG recordings have brought this cellist critical acclaim. These recordings include “an interpretation of the Bach suites compelling for its independent angle“ and a Reger CD representing” a high-level, tonally beautiful new recording.“ (FonoForum)
It's a real pity that most people's knowledge of Rossini begins and ends with the operas. Few people know that he actually wrote volumes of high-quality music for solo piano and chamber ensembles. No, Rossini is no Brahms or Schumann; don't expect heavy-duty Germanic introspection. What you can expect, however, is unfailing wit, humor, brilliance, humanity, and honesty written by a man who had seen and done just about everything in his long and eventful life.
The Romantic Piano Concerto series reaches 62 and makes an interesting (although temporary) departure: these four works are for pedal piano (a piano which includes a separate keyboard for the feet, to be played rather in the manner of an organ). Gounod was inspired by the talent of the young and apparently very attractive Lucie Palicot (born circa 1860) whom he heard performing Alkan’s music for pedal piano in 1882. Gounod is far better known for his operatic and liturgical compositions: these works show a different side to this nineteenth-century luminary….