Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102; Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132; Fantasiestücke, Op. 73; Märchenbilder, Op. 113; 3 Romanzen, Op. 94

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COMPOSERS: Schumann
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102; Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132; Fantasiestücke, Op. 73; Märchenbilder, Op. 113; 3 Romanzen, Op. 94
PERFORMER: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102; Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132; Fantasiestücke, Op. 73; Märchenbilder, Op. 113; 3 Romanzen, Op. 94
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 7 54824 2 DDD
If not altogether his ‘annus mirabilis’, the year 1849 was, none the less, a decisive one for Robert Schumann. The political upheavals which precipitated Wagner’s hasty flight from Dresden heralded a prolific period in Schumann’s life, temporarily unfettered by recurrent mental instability. The 5 Stücke im Volkston, of April 1849, receive alert and eloquent treatment from Boris Pergamenschikow; his bold, highly charged approach is undeniably impressive. The Fantasiestücke, Op. 73, date from February 1849, and were probably envisaged as a continuous three-movement suite. Clarinettist Michel Portal plays with rich lyrical intensity; his typically Gallic timbre suits the music well, though he is heard to fuller advantage in the Märchenerzählungen of 1853, dedicated to Schumann’s pupil Albert Dietrich.

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The Op. 94 Romances, heard here in a version for clarinet, were written in early December 1849, the oboe being Schumann’s specified instrument. Portal’s style, always compelling and intuitively musical, again finds an ideal equilibrium between sentiment and seriousness. Gérard Caussé, who joins Portal and the fine supporting pianist Mikhaïl Rudy in Op. 132, also plays the 4 Märchenbilder, Op. 113, for viola and piano, of 1851. These highly contrasted miniatures (Florestan and Eusebius revisited, perhaps?) afford expressive as well as virtuosic opportunity, to which both artists respond adroitly. Altogether, then, a worthy addition to the Schumann discography. Michael Jameson