Schumann : Complete Solo Piano Works
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Ronald Brautigam, Luba Edlina, Peter Frankl, Mariana Izman, Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Klára Würtz: piano
Robert Schumann (1810-1856): Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 / Kreisleriana, Op. 16 / Carnaval, Op. 9 / Fantasie in C major, Op. 17 / Kinderszenen, Op. 15 / Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 11 / Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 / Grande Humoresque Op. 20
Schumann's career very nearly took a very direction. He had planned to be a writer and a lawyer, and it was the experience of hearing Paganini play in 1830 that provided the impetus to set the young man on a path that would eventually see him become one of the great romantic composers. Having chosen this path, (he had dabbled as a composer in his childhood, and his father considered sending him to Weber for tuition) Schumann found composition anything but easy. A pianist of considerable prowess, he worshipped Beethoven and Chopin. His early works though show remarkably little influence of his heroes. For Schumann the models for his early sonatas and the many attempted piano concertos were Hummel, Moscheles (who he also idolised), Cramer, Weber and Spohr. Many works were started, left incomplete, then cannibalised for the few he did complete and publish. This collection of all the complete works for solo piano plus the Piano Concerto illustrate the struggles, failures and triumphs of this most complicated of composers. The famous Piano Concerto is a modelled on the Hummel/Moscheles form -- none the worse for that, but it was Schumann third attempt at a piano concerto, and is actually two works put together. That said it is an undoubted masterpiece, as are the solo piano works Kreisleriana Op.9, the C major Fantasie (probably the nearest he got to a 'Beethovenian' Sonata) Op.17, Kinderszenen Op.15, Carnaval Op.9. This set also contains the lesser- known early works, and the more formal piano sonatas Opp. 11 & 22 -- both these works completed after years of struggle, and incorporating material from earlier works.