WORKS: Kreisleriana; Bunte Blätter
PERFORMER: Lars Vogt (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 55425 2 DDD
In the 1850s, Schumann made two collections of short pieces he had written earlier, Bunte Blätter and Albumblätter. They are miniatures of mood and character-painting, and the sort of things people say they have a soft spot for. The 14 pieces in Bunte Blätter are real gems and a good recording of them is long overdue. Here it is. Lars Vogt, runner-up in the 1990 Leeds Competition, makes dreams come true: he obviously loves the music and feels at home in Schumann’s intimate world of wonder, tenderness and excitement.
It is a pity he didn’t record the Albumblätter too, instead of Kreisleriana, in which he seems strangely far from Schumann’s wavelength, and persistently heavy-handed until the last two numbers, which he plays very well, though for real recreative genius there are Argerich and Cherkassky to choose between.
The recording is good, but the big, bright – sometimes brittle – sound of a modern grand is not suited to the melting warmth and delicacy of Schumann’s textures. Not many pianists or producers think seriously enough about matching instruments to repertoire. Adrian Jack