Friday, September 30, 2016
I read an article today about several excellent Viola players. What totally surprised me was that German-born Tabea Zimmermann was not mentioned. As such, I feel the obligation to tell you about her. One of her recent recordings features the following: Zimmermann & Gerstein: Sonatas for Viola & Piano Vol. 1 Brahms: Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120 No. 2 Clarke, Rebecca: Viola Sonata Vieuxtemps: Viola Sonata in B flat, Op. 36 All performed by Tabea Zimmermann (viola) and Kirill Gerstein (piano). Tabea Zimmermann is an extraordinary musician, with a profound understanding of music and a natural way of playing. She is one of the leading contemporary viola players worldwide and last year was awarded the prestigious Echo Klassic as “Instrumentalist of the Year”. Her previous CD of Bach and Reger Solo Suites received excellent reviews and was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Gramophone Magazine wrote: “Zimmermann’s performance is masterly, strongly characterised in the positive first movement and the witty Scherzo [of the Clarke]…[In the Vieuxtemps] too Zimmermann and Gerstein give an ideal performance. Recording of all three works is excellent, a credit to this new label.” Here is Tabea Zimmermann in the wonderful music of Robert Schumann:
For my friends in Europe, here is a concert in October that I recommend for your consideration: Monday, 17.10.2016 in Brussels at 8:00 PM The Festival BOZAR at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles Address: Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium Performers: Tabea Zimmermann, Viola Jörg Widmann, clarinet Dénes Várjon, piano Program: SCHUMANN: Märchenerzählungen op. 132 SCHUMANN: Fantasiestücke op. 73 for clarinet and piano WIDMANN: Es war einmal… 5 Stücke im Märchenton for clarinet, viola and piano (2015) SCHUMANN: Märchenbilder op. 113 for viola and piano MOZART: Trio KV 498 for viola, clarinet and piano (Kegelstatt)
Barbican, London The Norwegian pianist’s performance was technically and musically, but lacked personality and riskLeif Ove Andsnes’s recital was a legacy from last season, when he featured in one of the LSO’s artist portraits. The solo appearance that was part of that residency had to be postponed, and rescheduling it now, Andsnes stuck more or less to his original programme, or at least to the same collection of composers: Beethoven, Sibelius, Debussy and Chopin.There was, though, something rather routine about it all. The Beethoven sonata with which Andsnes opened, the E flat Op 31 No 3, promised better in its clear outlines, clean textures and crisply sprung rhythms. It wasn’t especially characterful or witty, just a genial, well-mannered account of the most easygoing of the Op 31 sonatas. The piano pieces by Sibelius, though, needed something more than good manners to make them seem worthwhile. Andsnes had plundered several collections to make his sequence, from the Impromptus of the early 1890s to the weird, spiky Rondino of 1912, and the Schumann-like Elegiaco of a few years later, but there was never enough personality, in the music or the performances, to make them memorable. Continue reading...
From the classical archive, 20 May 1856: The Manchester Guardian reviews Clara Schumann’s ‘Soiree Musicale’ at the Town HallWe have already had occasion to advert to Madame Schumann’s piano forte playing. The concert of last night affords us another opportunity of noticing her claims to public support; and these can be summed up in a few words. Madame Schumann has mustered all the mechanical difficulties of the instrument, her touch is delicate and refined, and powerful when power is wanted. Her execution is even rapid and certain in scale passages; brilliant and sure in arpeggio ones. But, guiding and controlling all these lesser forces, she has a musical genius of the highest order. Beethoven and Mendelssohn never had an interpreter more sympathetic in feeling, nor more certain in expression. With the dreamy Chopin, she is not so much en rapport: and as regards the interpretation of her husband’s music, all we will venture to say at present is, fortunate the composer that has such an interpreter. Her playing of Beethoven’s sonata was superb: she seemed to have caught the very soul of that great musician and compelled him to re-utter himself. We are certain that the finale of the sonata in D minor never was, and never will be more perfectly rendered. Continue reading...
The great German lyric tenor died in a domestic accident on 17 September 1966. He was weeks away from his 36th birthday and his Metropolitan Opera debut. Wunderlich’s final appearance was on September 4 at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.The pianist was Herbert Giesen. You may never hear a more heartfelt account of Schumann’s song, Ich grolle nicht. The last song of his short life was Schubert’s An die Musik.
It is widely accepted that Robert Schumann died of the effects of tertiary syphilis, a disease he contracted while very young, possibly from his father’s household maid. Amid renewed discussion of Schumann’s condition, Dr George Dunea, editor of the Hektoen journal of medical humanities, gives an up-to-date assessment of the evidence. Schumann’s illness has given rise to considerable controversy, continuing even after his medical records emerged in 1991 and were published in 2006. His history of mental illness was an embarrassment to the Nazi authorities, whose laws mandated compulsive sterilization of schizophrenics and manic-depressives, giving rise to the claim that he had hypertension leading to vascular dementia. But surviving records indicate otherwise. In his diary he wrote that ”in 1831 I was syphilitic and treated with arsenic.” It has been postulated that he may been infected as a student. Less credibly, that he caught the infection from his sister (who had a chronic skin disease and mental problems) perhaps by contact with wet towels or sharp objects – so-called syphilis innocens. Read on here.
Robert Schumann (8 June 1810 - 29 July 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher, Friedrich Wieck, that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury caused by a device he created with the false belief that it would help increase the size of his hands prevented that. One of the most promising careers as a pianist had thus come to an end. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing. Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. His writings about music appeared mostly in the New Journal for Music, a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded. In 1840, Schumann married pianist Clara Wieck when she was of age, following a long and acrimonious legal battle with her father, his former teacher, to gain his approval of the match. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career. For the last two years of his life, after an attempted suicide, Schumann was confined to a mental institution, at his own request.
Great composers of classical music