Schumann Piano Music – Sigurd Slåttebrekk (Simax)

0 of 5 stars

Arabeske, Op.18
Carnaval, Op.9
Kreisleriana, Op.16

Sigurd Slåttebrekk (piano)

Recorded 29-31 May 2002 in Sofienberg kirke, Oslo

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: March 2004

This Schumann recital has much going for it, aside from first-class sound, not least Sigurd Slåttebrekk’s wonderful sensitivity in the most intimate sections of Carnaval in which one is transported. Such reverie contrasts nicely with the more outgoing music, given by Slåttebrekk with just the right amount of demonstration, flexibility and volatility. Not surprisingly for a pianist of imagination, Slåttebrekk plays the eerie Sphinxes that some pianists prefer to leave unsounded; Slåttebrekk’s decision to play these enigmatic chords adds to his as-in-a-dream way with the music, as fleet-fingered and sonorous account as any in the catalogue. Just occasionally though you feel that he does something for the sake of it, which can detract from the whole. Overall, Slåttebrekk’s Carnaval avoids stiffness and regulation, with rubato well judged, and his sense of improvisation is apposite to the work.

Kreisleriana is probably more satisfying – a sense of danger informs the opening hectic sprint and, in the introspective moments such as the third movement ’Sehr aufgeregt’, which is searched for some ravishing expression, Slåttebrekk conjures a very specific world, one true to Schumann. In the fast movements, coruscation and poise are finely balanced.

The Arabeske makes for a soothing encore and displays once more Slåttebrekk’s fluid and susceptible accounts of this wonderful music, which may be neither definitive or first-choice but are interesting and personable and are recommended to devotees of the composer.

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