Klassik  Soloinstrument  Klavier
Michael Endres Robert Schumann: Piano Works Vol. 3 OC 322 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 322
Release date01/01/2010
Release date01/01/2001
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Schumann, Robert

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      Description hide

      The third volume of Schumann piano works performed by Michael Endres promises the highest joy of listening: “Michael Endres accepts the music’s intimate demeanor and modest technical demands at face value.” – Jed Distler (ClassicsToday)

      Michael Endres piano

      Robert Schumann
      Klavierwerke Vol. 3
      Robert Schumann composed his Kreisleriana Op. 16 in 1838. These eight fantasies, composed in just eight days, were named after the fantastic figure of Kreisler, the Kapellmeister in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s novel Lebensansichten des Katers Murr (“Kater Murr, the Educated Cat”). Like its literary model, the work is redolent with profound, sombre feeling, and at the same time documents the wonderful melodic inventiveness of the young Schumann, who was 28 years old at the time the work was composed.

      The character of each of the eight fantasies varies widely: the passionate first piece, interrupted by a delicate, fragile middle section, is followed by a song-like, elaborate second piece, which with its two intermediate sections is the longest fantasy. Number three begins in manic, energetic fashion, contrasting with a lush middle section and ending in a resounding catastrophe.

      Numbers 4 and 6 are the centres of tranquillity in the cycle; only occasionally do dark clouds loom. The 5th piece is the eeriest, the most unreal, with (in the first version played here) a transition into the 6th fantasy. The mood of the cycle moves from feverishly restless to hysterically agitated throughout the 7th piece, which leads directly into no. 8, containing an unusual performer’s instruction, “The bass light and free”. This results in the left and right hands working almost independently of each other with disturbing effect. The Kreisleriana ends in an eerie pianissimo, almost a dark presentiment of the deeply moving “Geistervariationen” of 1854. During the composition of these variations, Schumann threw himself into the Rhine (on 27th February), then continued work after surviving his suicide attempt.

      By this time, Schumann had been suffering from depression for many years, which is doubtless responsible for the almost helpless, calm despair of this work which, no longer occupied with dramatic effect, frees itself from accustomed tonal structures (Schumann claimed that the theme had been “dictated by angels”). The last of the 5 variations, in which a continual, no longer controllable dissonance emerges, signified the tragic end of Schumann’s creative work, as he was to spend the two remaining years until his death in the asylum in Endenich, unable to compose.

      The Faschingsschwank Op. 26, composed in 1839, shows a completely different, lighthearted side of Schumann. However, the title “Faschingsschwank aus Wien” also reveals that the work is about a masquerade, i.e. that the bold cheerfulness is possibly only a facade concealing a quite different reality. Movements 1, 3 and 5 positively bubble with optimism and youthful energy, but despite its brilliance, the piano scoring remains strangely compact, i.e. the extreme registers are used only rarely and in a broken manner, which means that the timbre is rather dark. The restless last movement also has more of bustling hurry than pianistic, instrumental brilliance.

      The Romanze is a brooding, intimate and almost brittle piece, while the Intermezzo sinks into the deeper registers after a period of passionate turbulence. The imagery of the title cannot cover up the fact that the long periods of sustained lightheartedness in combination with extremely homophonic piano scoring make this work exceptional among Schumann’s compositions, even though it is a fascinating facet of his large and original piano repertoire.
      Michael Endres

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • Kreisleriana Op. 16 Eight Fantasies for Pianoforte
        • 1.1. Äußerst bewegt02:51
        • 2.2. Sehr innig09:12
        • 3.3. Sehr aufgeregt04:26
        • 4.4. Sehr langsam04:10
        • 5.5. Sehr lebhaft03:20
        • 6.6. Sehr langsam04:36
        • 7.7. Sehr rasch02:10
        • 8.8. Schnell und spielend03:34
      • Theme with Variations in E flat major WoO 24 (“Geistervariationen”)
        • 9.Thema01:37
        • 10.Var. I01:13
        • 11.Var. II01:29
        • 12.Var. III01:36
        • 13.Var. IV01:43
        • 14.Var. V02:06
      • Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26
        • 15.1. Allegro08.31
        • 16.2. Romanze03:14
        • 17.3. Scherzino02:05
        • 18.4. Intermezzo02:05
        • 19.5. Finale05:40
      • Total:57:07