Clara Schumann: Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20; Romances, Op. 11, 21 & 22; Piano Trio, Op. 17; Scherzo, Op. 14; Toccatina, Op. 6

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Clara Schumann
LABELS: Arte Nova
WORKS: Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20; Romances, Op. 11, 21 & 22; Piano Trio, Op. 17; Scherzo, Op. 14; Toccatina, Op. 6
PERFORMER: Micaela Gelius (piano), Sreten Krstic (violin), Stephan Haack (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 72106 2
Clara Schumann’s music has much in common with her more famous husband’s, but possesses a strength of personality all its own – especially remarkable given that she wrote many of her piano works while still in her teens. Intriguingly, too, the later Romance in A minor has more in common with Brahms than with Robert Schumann, and is dedicated to this second crucial musician in her life, while the Variations take as their theme the same Schumann piece as Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Schumann – thus uniting the most famous and disputed love triangle in the history of Western music. The Trio is probably the best-known of the works on this disc, a grand-scale composition filled with passion, invention and musical rhetoric that is at last finding a sound footing in the wider chamber music repertoire. Indeed Clara Schumann’s music is now receiving more airings than ever before; but still not enough. This addition to her catalogue is timely and welcome. Micaela Gelius’s vibrant piano-playing delivers the strength, passion and élan of the solo pieces very well (perhaps a little overpedalled here and there, but too much is better than too little in this music) and the string players, both full-blooded and sensitive, seem well matched with her and one another. Jessica Duchen

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