Friday, September 14, 2012

Preview: Preparing for a close-up look at Schumann's "Carnaval"

"Eusebius" and "Florestan" were Schumann's own characterizations of the two sides of his own personality -- the dreamy introvert and the passionate extrovert, respectively.

SCHUMANN: Carnaval, Op. 9:
5. Eusebius: Adagio; Più lento molto teneramente (2/4)
6. Florestan: Passionato (3/4)

Claudio Arrau, piano. Philips, recorded in Amsterdam, September 1966

by Ken

We've already done a wild swoop through the large output of that peerless romantic Robert Schumann, including a smattering of his distinguished solo-piano works in April 2010 ("In Schumann's case, obsession wasn't necessarily a bad thing"), and in November 2011 we took a close-up look at his exhilarating song "Widmung" ("Dedication"). This week we're going to home in on the best-known of his solo-piano suites, the relatively early Carnaval. As we've already heard, among its many contrasting pairs is a self-portrait in the form of Schumann's musical depiction of his introverted and extroverted sides, Eusebius and Florestan, respectively.


HERE'S ANOTHER STRIKING CONTRAST. ALONG THE
WAY WE HEAR TWO VERY DIFFERENT WALTZES --


4. Valse noble: Un poco maestoso (3/4)
16. Valse allemande (German Waltz): Molto vivace (3/4)

Wilhelm Kempff, piano. DG, recorded in Hannover, March 1971


AND HERE'S WHERE WE WIND UP --

21. Marche des Davidsbündler contre les Philistins
(March of the League of David Against the Philistines)
:
Adagio; Più lento molto teneramente (2/4)

Nelson Freire, piano. Decca, recorded in Lugano, Dec. 18-22, 2002


IN THIS WEEK'S SUNDAY CLASSICS POST --

We're going to hear a team of pianists tackle the whole of Carnaval.
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