Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vladimir Sofronitsky Plays Schumann

It only took Robert Schumann 4 days in April of 1838 to write Kreisleriana, 8 Fantasies for Piano, Op. 16. In the score, Schumann dedicated the work to Chopin. However, like many of his compositions, Kreisleriana is really a testament of his love to Clara Wieck. Schumann wrote of Kreisleriana that "the title is understandable only to Germans. Kreisler is a figure created by E.T.A. Hoffmann ... an eccentric, wild and clever Kapellmeister." The piece has all of those qualities that Schumann described of Kreisler, but it is also, at times, very tender and passionate.


The first fantasy is titled "Ausserst bewegt" which translates as "Extremely moving." It begins with a wild section in the key of D minor. Soon there is a transition into a lyrical B flat major central section. The movement concludes with a return to the key of D minor.
The next fantasy is "Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch" (Very inwardly and not too quickly). It begins with a slow, reflective B flat major section. This leads into a quick Intermezzo in G minor followed by a return to the opening section. After the recap of the opening section, another Intermezzo in G minor appears this time in a more passionate guise. The Intermezzo moves into dark chromaticism that finds its way back to the final appearance of the opening.
"Sehr aufgereg" (Very agitated) also contains another lyrical slow movement in the key of B flat major that is flanked by two outer quick section in G minor that are very similar to those of the first movement.
"Sehr langsam" (Very slowly) is once again in B flat major. This is one of the most lyrical and poetic of the eight movements. The movement sets a tranquil atmosphere reflective of Schumann's love for Clara.
Next comes "Sehr lebhaft" (Very lively). Consists of two trios in G minor in triple-time. In this Scherzo-like movement, the first trio is capricious and merry while the second builds to a powerful climax.
Another "Sehr langsam" movement follows. This movement, the essence of Kreisleriana, starts in with another sweet melody in B flat major but soon transforms into a spirited C minor and then back to the the B flat major section.
The most fiery of the set, "Sehr rasch" (Very Fast) comes next. In C minor, the movement heightens to a feverishly-pitched fugato until it finally resolves into a calm conclusion.
The set concludes with "Schnell und spielend" (Fast and playful). In the key of G minor, the right hand zips along with a sprightly melody while the left hand accompanies with slow octaves that are slightly out of time. The set comes to a slightly uncertain end with a slow, quiet descent into the lower reaches of the keyboard.

Like the dual personalities of Kreisler, Schumann's Kreisleriana also seems to alternate personalities. At times it is wild, eccentric and clever like Schumann described of Kreisler. However, it is equally tender, lyrical and romantic at other times.

Source : http://classyclassical.blogspot.fr/2005/11/robert-schumanns-kreisleriana-8.html

Vladimir Sofronitsky
Robert Schumann


8 fantasies for piano, Op. 16
1 I. Äusserst bewegt   2:24
2 II. Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch  8:33
3 III. Sehr aufgeregt  4:39
4 IV. Sehr langsam  3:21
5 V. Sehr lebhat  3:04
6 VI. Sehr langsam  3:39
7 VII. Sehr rasch  2:17
8 VIII. Schnell und spielend  3:27
Recorded in 1952

9 Impromptu on a theme by Clara Wieck, Op. 5  7:47
Recorded in 1952

10 Arabesque, Op. 18  5:57
Recorded in 1959

Fantasie, Op. 17
11 I. Il tutto fantastico ed appasionato - In modo d'une leggenda  11:15
12 II. Moderato con energica - Pocco meno mosso - Più animato  7:33
13 III. Lento sostenuto - Il tutto piano - Poco più animato  8:58
Recorded in 1959


Vladimir Sofronitsky - p


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much. I dont suppose by any stroke of fortune you happen to have a recording of Sofronitzky playing the Symphonic Etudes?

La Danse de Puck said...

The Symphonic Etudes are available in the 15 Volumes by Denon, now completely out-of-print.
Vol. 5 is the one you want. Hard to get on the web.

5) COCQ-83673/4 (anciennement COCO-80074/5, vol. 1).
Schumann : intégrale du récital du 18/11/1959 (Arabesque opus 18, Fantaisie opus 17, Études symphoniques opus 13 et opus posthume, Carnaval opus 9, Des
Abends opus 12/1, Romance opus 28/1), Chopin : enregistrements en studio des sessions de janvier et février 1960 (opus 26/1, opus 69/1, opus 70/2,3, opus 63/2, opus 30/3,4, opus 41/1, opus 50/3)

Crazylikeacat said...

Hi Puck, funny seeing you here. The Denon reference you're using is spurious. I've seen it and it must be for some either edition (but not Arlecchino, Vista Vera, or Brilliant Classics, either.. go figure).

The Symphonic Etudes are on Vol. 1 of the Denon series.

Vol. 5 does not have the Etudes:

Ponis said...

Please re-post.

Melanchthon said...


chuchuni said...

Je n'apprécie pas énormément Schumann, c'est d'ailleurs sûrement ma faute - peut-être n'ai-je pas insisté comme il se doit. Mais Safronitsky, oui. Alors merci.