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Kirill Gerstein performs Schumann

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Kirill Gerstein's Imaginary Pictures, out now on the Myrios Classics label, pairs Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Schumann's Carnaval, Op. 9. Not an obvious programme choice at first sight, the pianist has chosen two works that show both composers using programmatic pictoral themes to contain very personal feelings.

'Carnaval is a typically Schumannesque intertwining of the real and the fantastical,' writes Kirill Gerstein in the liner notes that accompany this disc. 'The piece depicts an imaginary masked ball. Some movements portray members of the Davidsbund [...] others depict characters derived from the commedia dell'arte: Pierrot, Arlequin, Pantalon and Colombine.'

Interspersed with dance movements, including stylised waltzes and a promenade, the selection of 'little scenes' - as they are called in the Carnaval's subtitle - offer an insight into Schumann's vivid imagination. The work opens with a playful Préambule, which is free to download today.

The disc will be reviewed in the September issue of BBC Music Magazine.

Click here to buy a copy of Imaginary Pictures.

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