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Schumann-Piano Sonatas 1 & 3 CD

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Jun. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000067ULZ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,679 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

NAX 8554275; NAXOS - Germania; Classica da camera Piano

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By KaleHawkwood TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Coming to these works after most of Schumann`s other solo piano compositions, I am charmed, awed and excited in equal measure.
The piano sonata is a taxing medium for a composer, being a usually quite lengthy piece of `pure music` in which longeurs, bathos or sheer lack of inspiration are cruelly exposed. But it can also bring out the best in a composer, allowing him to parade as nakedly as he dare his (or her) personality, ideals, spirit, sense of humour, seriousness, as well as his compositional panache.
These sonatas are a revelation to me. As played by one of the redoubtable Naxos label`s star players, the German pianist Bernd Glemser - sounds, aptly, like a good name for a firework - they glitter, sparkle and are forever turning on a dime, as this is mercurial, jumpy music that rarely stays still for long. When Schumann does stop to smell the roses, not surprisingly in the slower passages, the results are almost too moving to bear, the more so if one knows a little of Schumann`s own story. (This is one composer whose biography only enhances the pleasure gained from hearing his music.) The `Introduzione` of the first movement of Sonata No 1 begins as a measured Un poco adagio, immediately drawing one in to Schumann`s uniquely bittersweet world, dramatically rising in temperature to an Allegro vivace as choppy and changeable as a sea in nervy weather. This 15-min opening movement is worth the bargain price of this impeccable disc all on its own, Glemser proving with infectious aplomb that one doesn`t always need a Richter or a Pollini to give such music its due weight and brilliance.
I can`t stop playing this disc. It has sent me back to Schumann`s oeuvre with a renewed wonder and respect.
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Format: Audio CD
The German Bernd Glemser is one of my favourite pianists and here he gives a masterful performance of Robert Schumann's First and Third Piano Sonatas. He knocks much of the "competition" into a cocked hat and I love this re-creation; there is, unfortunately, a rather big but!

The "but" is to do with a really very annoying sound that can be heard several time throughout the disc, particularly at forte. It's rather like a rattle or buzz and seems to come from somewhere in the piano frame itself. After two or three playings, I find myself listening out for this noise to the clear detriment of Glemser's superb pianism; it becomes most irritating and distracting.

I'm not being pedantic, as I have no problem listening through the crackle and hiss of many an ancient recording, but this digital set, featuring a sound that the BBC Music Magazine reviewer referred to as "distant maracas", has now driven me to distraction! Five stars for the performances, two stars for the recording.

It's such a pity that these great performances have been so stupidly compromised - you have been warned!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97810fe4) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97815b34) out of 5 stars SUPERLATIVE SCHUMANN 28 Mar. 2003
By Melvyn M. Sobel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In the wrong hands, Schumann's monumental first and third piano sonatas can become gargantuan bores, pressing the limits with their youthful manipulations, fragmentation and repetitive ideas. Could be why these works are so infrequently recorded. Of the few pianists who did are Arrau, Kuerti, and Horowitz, to name the brave pre-digital-era group, and more recently, Andsnes and Lee. None, though, tackled the two together.

Bernd Glemser seems the intrepid first, and what a marvelously endowed contribution he has made to the literature. His performances of these lengthy Schumann works are so filled with new ideas, so sensitive to innermost detail and voicing, so overtly rich with the fantastical permutations imbued in every bar, so idiomatic and so obviously loving of the music itself that these sonatas spring to life with an energetic devotion second to none.

Without glorifying his own immense talent, Glemser reveals Schumann's in all its tormented impetuosity, virtuosity and bitter yearning. With great eloquence, phenomenal insight, and an undeniable reverence, the pianist pays true homage to the composer. In so doing, he invokes the spirit of Schumann as well as raising these sonatas to their rightful place. The remarkable recording, too, complements Glemser's vision in every possible way.

[Running time: 65:09]
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97815b88) out of 5 stars Very fine performances, these ones 10 May 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Bernd Glemser has through a series of releases on the Naxos label established himself as an impressive pianist, and this one is among his best yet (although I am reluctant to say that they quite pip Gilels or Horowitz at their posts). Particularly admirable is his ability to balance the various voices and create clean structures and cogent long lines. One might perhaps ask for a little more passion or white-hot intensity, but to be honest the two works here, in particular when it comes to the outer movements of both works, desperately needs someone who can keep the lines clear and have the bigger picture in mind more than they need additional turmoil. In fact, to sample Glemser's most prominent virtues I'd resommend the scherzo of the first sonata, where the balance he obtains through holding the bass line clear and steady throughout is truly impressive compared to most (any?) other pianists, and the way he manages (in part in virtue of holding the lines so impressively) to let the central theme be the glorious, elevated climax it can be. Glemser is also convincingly lyrical in the slow movements (in particular the variations in the third). Sound quality is very fine as well and even though the performances don't, in the end, exactly outcompete Gilels or Horowitz, this is a very recommendable issue.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97815fc0) out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - These are not the most outstanding Sonatas, but they are still attractive 23 Mar. 2007
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is the first to introduce Schumann's Op. 11 and Op. 14 Sonatas to my ears. While I lack the respectable knowledge of Arrau's, Horowitz's, or Pollini's renditions, I have no doubt Bernd Glemser pours his soul and technical arsenal into these works. On the whole, I found both Sonatas attractive: lovely melodies and some wild emotional climates are abundant. Unfortunately, some of the movements seemed mediocre and left me wanting more. The first Sonata's Aria movement and the third Sonata's Scherzo, for instance, are not the most substantial things, and I expected more from Schumann's large-scale pieces.

However, and that's a big however, I do not doubt the magnificence of both Sonatas; they each have two profound movements which bolster their musical appeal. In the first Sonata in F sharp minor can be found one of the most pensive and beautiful openings of Schumann's piano works. Although the movement seems somewhat incoherent, what with the sudden cadence after the "Un poco adagio" idea and the new theme guided by an "Allegro vivace" tempo, the movement presents marvelous, agreeable music in sonata form. I had a little trouble in trying to like the Aria movement, a somewhat mellow and aimless miniature. Astonishingly, the most memorable movement is the Scherzo. Schumann has written a great Scherzo theme and a charming Chopinesque trio section that, uncharacteristically, nestle together quite nicely instead of sounding fragmented as we might expect from the piano miniature master. The Finale is a success, as well, demonstrating originality and beguiling harmonies. Consider the implementation of a melodic line, the Rondo theme, in the bass register; notice the fantastic representations of Schumann's Eusebius and Florestan engaging in a musical duel; this Finale is striking proof of Schumann's ingenious piano-writing.

There are prodigious and emotional ideas in the Op. 14 'Concerto without Orchestra' Sonata. The last two movements attain a splendid depth of expression. But, in my opinion, some moments drag on, evaporate too soon, or, as in the Scherzo movement, display nothing special. In the Allegro, we find two strong, noble themes; it's only in the development that things get tiresome. Fortunately, Glemser's fiery performance, especially in the recapitulation and coda, make up for it. As I mentioned earlier, the Scherzo movement of this Sonata seems rather vapid and mediocre. At least in the third movement, a set of four variations on a Clara Schumann theme, the music explores richer material. Indeed, the piece is a dreamy adventure with many intriguing variances on Clara's Andantino theme. Making a spectacular conclusion to this irregular work, the bustling Presstissimo possibile is probably the most virtuosic movement of all. Glemser's unlimited steam and consciousness of musical thought helps bring out the best moments here.

Bottom line: 4 stars may seem unfair to these neglected Sonatas. I realize I might upset some Schumann fans who believe these two works are worthy of no less than five stars. I just felt that there were inconsistencies in quality, an absence of true uniqueness, and a couple mediocre movements in these works. Nonetheless, Bernd Glemser has proven that he is a real contender as a Schumannite, adding intensity and interpretative clairvoyance to Schumann's music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97815fa8) out of 5 stars Spellbinding! 29 Dec. 2008
By John Weisenfluh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful performance of these Schumann sonatas. Bernd Glemser performs with remarkable insight, and extraordinary artistry. Mr. Glemser is very much in touch with the complexities of thought and the beauty to be found within the sonatas. In all probability, Schumann would applaud this performance.
HASH(0x9aa6d390) out of 5 stars Rare Schumann and brilliant performance 26 Dec. 2012
By Roberto Carvalho De Magalhaes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For a lover of Schumann, this cd is essential, not only because it contains two sonatas (Nos. 1 and 3) and recorded rarely or, anyway, separately; but also because the interpretation of German pianist Bernd Glemser is excellent - has great clarity, and, despite its richness and nuances of expression, does not fall in excessive and misleading romanticism.
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