Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sviatoslav Richter in Prague (Schumann)

When Schumann, the former piano pupil of Friedrich Wieck, started working on his Etudes Symphoniques in the autumn of 1834 he was still living in Leipzig. Clara Wieck, the "ray of sunshine" that had begun to appear in the bosom of the austere Wieck family, was still only "a little chit of a girl, ever so slightly sullen, with very pretty eyes and very partial to cherries" who had just turned fifteen. At the time Schumann thought he was in love with Ernestine von Fricken, who had been a piano pupil of Friedrich Wieck's at the same time as he had in order to win the favour of the young gril's guardian, Baron von Fricken, an amateur flautist and passionate lover of music, he launched into the composition of a set of "variations pathéiques" on a rather fine theme written by the Baron (who had already composed a series of variations on it for flute and piano). The opening andante was then a tema quasi marcia funebre and was followed by five strict and impressive variations. Thus Schumann applied his reasoning with the intention of charming and reassuring Ernestine's relatives. But had his passion for her cooled, or was he simply incapable of carrying out this "theme and variations" founded on an ostinato bass preifiguring the breadth and power of Brahms ? After a masterly first spurt Schumann did not go on with this "anti-Carnaval". When he took it up again in the autumn of 1836 he wrote five additionals variations, "side roads" that could be seen as the sign of an inexpressible need to regain the creative freedom that had made Carnaval, scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes, completed a year before, a series of variations of highly inspired imagiinativeness and technical accomplishment. He persevered and finished the cycle under its original title of Etüden im Orchestercharacter für Pianoforte von Florestan und Eusebius. It was published in June 1837 with a dedication to William Sterndale Bennett, whose erudition he greatly admired. The final Variation (XII) takes its theme from the phrase, "Du stolzes England, freue dich" (Pround England, rejoice) from Marschner's Ivanhoe opera, Der Templer und die Jüdin as a salute to his English friend. The "supplementary" variations were not kept, as Schumann thought that they could weaken the strict order and progression of the score. In 1852 he wrote a new version under the title Etudes en forme de variations, omitting Etudes III and IX and making a number of cuts in the finale. In 1861 yet another edition, published posthumously by J. Schuberth in Leipzig, restored the two missing Etudes, but retained the altered finale. Then in 1873 Brahms had a critical edition published by Simrock that contained the "supplementary" variations, that thereby became "posthumous".
Pierre-E. Barbier, from the booklet

Sviatoslav Richter
In Prague


Robert Schumann

Symphonic Studies
and five supplementary variations

1 Thema. Andante  1:30
2 Etude I (Variation I) - Un poco più vivo  1:00
3 Etude II (Variation II) - Marcato il canto  2:30
4 Etude III - Vivace  1:03
5 Etude IV (Variation III)  0:58
6 Etude V (Variation IV)  0:58
7 Variation posth. I  1:00
8 Variation posth. II  1:20
9 Variation posth. III  2:12
10 Variation posth. IV  1:15
11 Variation posth. V  2:50
12 Etude VI (Variation V) - Agitato  2:05
13 Etude VII (Variation VI) - Allegro molto  1:10
14 Etude XI (Variation IX) - Andante con espressione  2:18
15 Etude XII (Finale) - Allegro brillante  5:25


Fantasy in C, Op. 17

16 Durchaus fantastich une leidenschaftlich vorzutragen - Im Legenden Ton  12:56
17 Mässig. Durchaus energisch - Etwas langsamer - Viel bewegter  6:30
18 Langsma betragen. Durchweg leise zu halten - Etwas bewegter  10:15


Sviatoslav Richter - p

Recorded in Dvořák Hall, Prague (Czech Radio) ; December 12, 1956 [# 1-15] ; November 2, 1959 [# 16-18]


fcapeau said...

Great Stuff ! Just pleasure; Everybody has to enjoy these Richter's sessions.

pedro gamundi said...


Melanchthon said...

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Perfect! thank you very very much Mel