Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn

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COMPOSERS: Clara Schumann,Fanny Mendelssohn
LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17
PERFORMER: Dartington Piano Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55078 Reissue (1988)
If these two composers had lived in a less male-dominated world, they might have had time to refine their compositional techniques and develop individual voices. As it is, their music is sometimes slightly mechanical, with a limited harmonic palette – and I’m sure it’s just lack of practice, because both can invent striking musical ideas. Despite her reputation as a pianist, Schumann in her piano-writing is less enterprising than Mendelssohn, and it’s Mendelssohn who comes across as the more interesting talent, with a greater variety of textures, and a less four-square rhythmic approach. Given her head, she could have rivalled her brother in achievement. Martin Cotton