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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare and original chamber music gems., 2 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Schumann - Andante & Variations; Stücke im Volkstom; Adagio & Allegro; Phantasiestücke (Audio CD)
This disc contains four delightful and original compositions by Schumann which are rarely performed.

I will describe them in the order they appear on the disc:

1. Andante and Variations for two pianos, two cellos and horn. (just under 20 minutes).

This was completed in 1843 but published posthumously, by Brahms, in 1893.
It opens in sombre mood with pianos and cellos dominant but the 1st and 3rd variations are vigorous
allegros where the horn makes significant contributions. There is a most delightful passage between
10 and 13 minutes where the horn's interjections are like a series of good-natured hunting calls.

2. Funf Stucke Im Volkston (Five pieces in Folk Style)for Cello and piano. (Just over 15 minutes).

This is a suite of "songs" (from 1849)which evoke song, dance and daily life.
i Delightful, playfully evoking the caricature of a folk dance.
ii Is a slower cradle song where there is more intimate dialogue between keyboard and strings.
iii Not quick, is again conversational between piano and cello.
iv Begins with a march rhythm and is more vigorous throughout.
v Strong and Cadenced, the piano is lively and the cello more cheerful, playing more in its upper
registers as if recounting some legend or epic scene.

3. Adagio and Allegro for horn and piano (1849) (A little under 9 minutes).

Showing off the capabilities of the modern three-valve horn, there is a moving nocturne and a
brilliant rondo where the horn is lugubrious and jocular in turn. This, for me, is the
highlight of the CD!

4. Phantasiestucke for piano, violin and cello. Composed between 1842 and 1850. (17 minutes).

A most creative piano trio revised extensively after being written in the classical mode.

i Romance
ii Humoresque (from the original Scherzo) full of "catchy" tunes.
iii Duett
iv Finale with two highly contrasting delightful trios.

The Guarneri Trio, Prague and additional soloists are on fine form with Radok Babarak on the
horn making an exceptional contribution in showcasing the full range of moods of the French Horn.

While this CD is a little on the expensive side - it contains over an hour of some of the most
original chamber music of the Romantic period. It will enthrall lovers of Romantic chamber
music and show a different side of his talents to devotees of, the often underrated, Schumann.

The recording is clear and bright and does full justice to the music.
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