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Schumann: Works for Oboe and Piano

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Heinz Holliger, Alfred Brendel
  • Composer: Robert Schumann
  • Audio CD (30 April 1996)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000026E9Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,880 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD
The oboe is remarkable in its span. What other instrument so encompasses the matinal and the crepuscular? Composers rarely lavish inspiration upon it. These works are mid-period Schumann when there were fewer bats in the belfry.

Of the works here, only the Three Romances of Opus 94 were written expressly for piano and oboe. They are hauntingly beautiful. Abendlied, Opus 85 / 12, is a transcription and tender indeed is the night. Being a practical musician, Schumann architected the other works (Opus 70, 73 & 102) so that the piano could be joined by an array of different instruments: horn, cello, didgeridoo or clarinet. While I prefer them in their cello-guise, there is much to be said for the plangency of the oboe against the keyboard. Regrettably, two of the five moments of Stücke im Volkston are omitted here. This is a puzzle. Opus 102 is alloyed with humour, wisdom and intimacy; it warrants being heard in its entirety.

Throughout this recital, Brendel plays with a fullness of tone that belies his metallic ping in more recent recordings. Holliger, needless to say, plays masterfully. The recording is excellent.

None of these works will change your life but they are a delight.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc, well recorded in 1979, contains the 3 Romances written for the oboe and piano plus other titles, all of which can be found in other instrumentations. The playing of all of these works, all of which are gentle in concept, is sublime and well suited to Holliger's smooth style of oboe playing.

The Evening Song is a gentle piece transcribed for oboe and piano by Joachim. The Adagio and Allegro will be familiar to several in its version for horn and piano. The horn is arguably more suited to the hunting nature of the allegro section, well played by Thompson on a disc of the Strauss horn concertos, but the oboe version here is completely satisfying.

The 5 Stucke im Volkston are normally heard with cello and piano and Rostropovich has made a fine version of them. In this case, for some unexplained reason, only three of the pieces are played.

The Fantaisiestucke Opus 73 were originally written for clarinet and piano. They should not be confused with the opus 12 set for solo piano. These later pieces share the same characteristics of the rest of the program and are equally a delight.

This is a unique disc, quite unlike any other that I have heard. It is difficult to assess a recording that is now deleted and only available new at stratospheric prices. However there are used copies available which may be worth trying. The musical values of the disc are sufficiently rewarding to make such an attempt arguably worth trying. There are no alternatives and it is well past the time when this disc should be re-issued.
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Format: Audio CD
I have long owned the original LP from which this CD derives, and it is among the most satisfying and best loved LPs in my colection. I had thought to replace it with a CD version: but not at the extortionate prices currently being asked for this OOP CD. Brilliant Classics has issued a 10-CD Holliger Box at a very reasonable price: but sadly this recording is not included. Scope here for Polygram - or Brilliant - to give us another Holliger set, concentrating on his chamber music rather than the concertos featured in the recent Brilliant Box. He and Brendel together work magic in these Schumann pieces, and the recording should be kept in print at all times.

Edit: July 2013. Good News; the contents of this disc have just been released by Australian Eloquence on a well-filled CD, coupled with further Schumann chamber works played by Barry Tuckwell and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Rostropovitsch with Britten. Not to be missed.
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This is a top class CD. Heinz Holliger is a phenomenal oboist, accompanied by world class pianist Alfred Brendel. Heinz uses 'circular breathing' (breathing out through the mouth whilst simultaneously breathing in through the nose) which enables him to play long passages effortlessly without appearing to draw breath. His purity of tone is second to none. The music is beautiful, much of it composed in the style of Songs without Words. Heinz soars to the upper registers with ease, and the two soloists complement one another perfectly. I could readily listen to this recording every day for the rest of my life. Unfortunately it's difficult to get hold of the CD directly in the UK, but Amazon sourced it successfully for me from a Music Store in Munich. This comes with my every recommendation.

Steve Burgess, UK, December 2009.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rasch und mit Feuer, Allegro (in Adagio und Allegro), and Stuck im Volkston No. 4, are the lively standout pieces on this disc 28 Aug. 2015
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
SCHUMANN WORKS FOR OBOE AND PIANO is a compilation of eleven pieces, recorded on the PHILIPS label by Heinz Holliger and Alfred Brendel. Perhaps more than any other commercially available disc, this product enables the listener to drench himself in the delicious sound of the oboe. Most of the pieces are on the lugubrious side, though a couple are lively, as detailed below. Some of the same pieces can be found on disc on the DEUTCHE GRAMMOPHONE label, recorded by Martha Argerich on cello and Mischa Maisky on piano. I recommend both discs. I particularly enjoyed the addictive RASCH UND MIT FEUER, which is found on both discs.

3 ROMANCES provides NICHT SCHNELL (3 min, 55 sec), EINFACH (4 min, 49 sec), and NICHT SCHNELL (5 min, 22 sec). Of course, "nicht schnell" only means, "not fast." It is not much of a title for a piece, but that is the only title available. The first romance is slow. The oboe provides little jagged motifs, separated by a brief anthemic tune. In the second romance, oboe provides an arching melody, meaning that the tune begins on one particular note, then pirouettes a bit, and concludes on the original note. The second romance also includes a melody that is like that in a dramatic part from a Brahms symphony. Then the arching melody is reiterated. The third romance is less distinctive than the previous two romances.

ABENDLIED (2 min, 41 sec). Abendlied means evening song, can easily be guessed by any person having had a 1-hour instruction in the German language. This piece is verrrrrrrry slow. The piece is also very quiet. The piece is distinguished by the fact that the oboe provides an extended trill in the midpoint of this lugubrious composition.

ADAGIO AND ALLEGRO (9 min, 23 sec). ALLEGRO is one of the standouts on this disc. Adagio and Allegro begins with a feeling of rolling ocean waves. The oboe provides little riffs that are like musical question marks. As the 4 minute point roles around, the piece threatens to become unbearably dull. But at 4 minutes and 15 seconds, the piece wakes up with the Allegro. The liveliness of Allegro continues to about 6 minutes and 30 seconds, where the piece becomes more self-reflective, and then the liveliness returns at 7 minutes and 15 seconds. Any person with a sound editing device can copy ALLEGRO and then burn it into a blank compact disc, along with other favorites, for repeated listenings (while avoiding the lugubrious Adagio).

FANTASIESTUCKE has three movements, ZART UND MIT AUSDRUCK (3 min, 47 sec), LEBHAFT (4 min, 11 sec), and RASCH UND MIT FEUER (4 min, 47 sec). ZART has a slow-to-moderate pace, and its melody is not a distinct one. LEBHAFT is somewhat faster, and here the piano and oboe engage in a call-and-response routine. After a minute, the oboe engages in some chromatic ascending riffs, where these ascending riffs are mimicked by the piano. Although the chromatic ascending riffs distinguish this piece from all of the other compositions on this disc, the riffs are not enough to motivate repeated listenings. RASCH UND MIT FEUER is the standout piece on this disc. The tune is distinguished by a string of notes, where the oboe hovers a while on the penultimate note, inducing mild tension in the listener, and where at the last moment, the oboe resolves the tension by providing the final note. The final note is always followed by a lyrical descending motif.

5 STUCK IM VOLKSTON actually provides only three of these five studies, namely, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4. No. 2 and No. 3 are slow and not memorable. In contrast, No. 4 is a big surprise. No. 4 is a lively piece, and it has pop sensibilities. By pop sensibilities, I mean that it has a catchy "hook" of one of the rock'n'roll tunes from the early 1960s. In particular, No. 4 has a tune that is quite similar to TELSTAR by the Tornados. Although this rendition, is an instrumental, vocal renditions with lyrics have been recorded by other artists. Similar examples in convergent evolution of melodies from the classical repertoire and popular repertoire have occurred. Of particular note, is the amazing similarity between Brahms' Trio No. 2 in C Major, and the theme from The Simpsons, as composed by Danny Elfman. Please see my review of the recording by Arthur Rubinstein, Henryk Szering, and Pierre Fournier.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare disc at a rarified price but also offering rare beauty 28 Dec. 2013
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This disc, well recorded in 1979, contains the 3 Romances written for the oboe and piano plus other titles, all of which can be found in other instrumentations. The playing of all of these works, all of which are gentle in concept, is sublime and well suited to Holliger's smooth style of oboe playing.

The Evening Song is a gentle piece transcribed for oboe and piano by Joachim. The Adagio and Allegro will be familiar to several in its version for horn and piano. The horn is arguably more suited to the hunting nature of the allegro section, well played by Thompson on a disc of the Strauss horn concertos, but the oboe version here is completely satisfying.

The 5 Stucke im Volkston are normally heard with cello and piano and Rostropovich has made a fine version of them. In this case, for some unexplained reason, only three of the pieces are played.

The Fantaisiestucke Opus 73 were originally written for clarinet and piano. They should not be confused with the opus 12 set for solo piano. These later pieces share the same characteristics of the rest of the program and are equally a delight.

This is a unique disc, quite unlike any other that I have heard. It is difficult to assess a recording that is now deleted and only available new at stratospheric prices. However there are used copies available which may be worth trying. The musical values of the disc are sufficiently rewarding to make such an attempt arguably worth trying. There are no alternatives and it is well past the time when this disc should be re-issued.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I remembered 14 Feb. 2015
By P. Kelley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording suffers from a flatness and two-dimensionality than makes it difficult to enjoy fully. Whatever soundstage there was on the vinyl release has completely disappeared, and the result is Brendel's piano accompaniment now seems intrusive and the solo oboe seems overly dry. Frankly, the sound of this recording was never very good, even though it was made in 1979. I would suggest taking a look at Boyd and Pires' excellent recording in 4D sound for DG.
5.0 out of 5 stars Schumann & the Hautbois 26 Jun. 2012
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The oboe is remarkable in its span. What other instrument so encompasses the matinal and the crepuscular? Composers rarely lavish inspiration upon it. These works are mid-period Schumann when there were fewer bats in the belfry.

Of the works here, only the Three Romances of Opus 94 were written expressly for piano and oboe. They are hauntingly beautiful. Abendlied, Opus 85 / 12, is a transcription and tender indeed is the night. Being a practical musician, Schumann architected the other works (Opus 70, 73 & 102) so that the piano could be joined by an array of different instruments: horn, cello, didgeridoo or clarinet. While I prefer them in their cello-guise, there is much to be said for the plangency of the oboe against the keyboard. Regrettably, two of the five moments of Stücke im Volkston are omitted here. This is a puzzle. Opus 102 is alloyed with humour, wisdom and intimacy; it warrants being heard in its entirety.

Throughout this recital, Brendel plays with a fullness of tone that belies his metallic ping in more recent recordings. Holliger, needless to say, plays masterfully. The recording is excellent.

None of these works will change your life, delightful though they are.
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