Tuesday, 23 June 2009

276. Robert Schumann - Etudes Symphoniques (1835, rev. 1852)



















Recording

Title: Symphonic Etudes, Op.13; Piano Concerto, Op.54; Cello Concerto, Op. 129.
Performers: Murray Perahia
Year: 1976
Length: 20 minutes

Review

The first entry by Schumann on the list is not a very impressive one, however, it is a very competent one. This is a collection of Piano etudes, and much as in the work of Chopin, these are meant to be exercises in piano technique.

Like Chopin, Schumann also manages to make these etudes pleasant to listen to, beyond the simple utilitarianism that would be obvious for such exercises in piano technique.

Unlike Chopin, however, Schumann does not manage to be as expressive in his etudes, and even if the pieces are enjoyable to listen to, they never achieve the emotional charge present in Chopin's etudes. It is, of course, unfair to compare anyone to Chopin, but that's what you get when you come after him.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The first edition in 1837 carried an annotation that the tune was "the composition of an amateur": this referred to the origin of the theme, which had been sent to Schumann by Baron von Fricken, guardian of Ernestine von Fricken, the Estrella of his Carnaval Op. 9. The baron, an amateur musician, had used the melody in a Theme with Variations for flute. Schumann had been engaged to Ernestine in 1834, only to break abruptly with her the year after. An autobiographical element is thus interwoven in the genesis of the √Čtudes symphoniques (as in that of many other masterpieces of Schumann's).

Rubinstein plays the theme and etudes 1, 2 and 3:

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