Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54
Introduction and Allegro appassionata, Op.92
Introduction and Allegro, Op.134
Concerto Movement in F minor
Oleg Marshev (piano)
South Jutland Symphony Orchestra
Recorded 3-7 August 2009 in ALSION, Sønderborg, Denmark
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: November 2010
CD No: DANACORD
Duration: 74 minutes
The opening of Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto might be thought a little brusque here, but is in-keeping with the composer’s directions; yet there is real conviction in evidence from these performers, the music given direction rather than wallowed in, yet there is also expressive fluidity within a ‘proper’ first-movement allegro-tempo that flexes to mood but not to a dismantling of the whole.
Oleg Marshev’s surety of technique and his sensitivity to phrase, aided by a lissom and vividly detailed accompaniment (Vladimir Ziva is an excellent accompanist who conjures many fine blends and details) – itself captured by a lucid and well-balanced recording – brings freshness and illumination to music that can seem over-familiar or given a cloying romanticism that undoes Schumann’s ever-developing line. Not that these performers lack for feeling or expressive yielding within this virile and elastic account, but there is a constant sense of going somewhere. Marshev begins the cadenza, very thoughtfully revealed overall, with a beautiful modulation. Ideally the editing into the second movement could have been smoother and, just as ideally, the tempo for this movement could have been more measured (certainly given the relative swiftness of the first movement, for we now need a little respite); fortunately the finale restores equilibrium, contrapuntal and springy.
The two concertante pieces of Robert Schumann are less familiar, and undeservedly so, for both contain wonderful music, and indeed also the essence of this composer; Marshev, Ziva and the members of the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra have the poet’s tongue and sensibility, these pieces made very affecting. If Clara Schumann’s Concerto Movement (written after Miss Wieck had married Robert) is less impressive as music, if very much part of the milieu that she lived in, reminding more of Mendelssohn’s music than her husband’s, it is certainly romantic and communicative, and quite darkly coloured at times, and given a very persuasive reading.
This then is a release notable for a fresh and engaging performance of Robert Schumann’s evergreen Piano Concerto and rewarding ones of the other pieces. Throughout the disc, the recording is outstanding in its presence and clarity.