Camillo Schumann: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2; Konzertstücke, Op. 20by Maria Kliegel
Born in Saxony in 1872, Camillo Schumann -- unrelated to any of the more well-known Schumanns, Robert or Clara -- received a broad, intense musical education. The scope of his education translated into an equally diverse musical career. He was extremely successful as a concert pianist -- both as soloist and chamber artist -- and organist, and composed extensively for most standard genres. What perhaps faded his fame was Schumann's unwillingness to bend to the winds of the time. Rather than exploring the progressive musical trends happening around him, his composition was firmly rooted in the late Romantic tradition. As such, his works bear much in common with Brahms, Liszt, and even Chopin. This Naxos album highlights two of his three cello sonatas, as well as the "Konzertstücke, Op. 20." Schumann's career as a keyboardist is evident in the dominant role the piano plays in the sonatas, much like the Chopin and Rachmaninov sonatas. The "First" and "Second" sonatas, performed here by cellist Maria Kliegel and pianist Francesco Piemontesi, are rich, dramatic, and sophisticated compositions, which, had they been written half a century earlier, would have likely endured better into the present day. Kliegel and Piemontesi give Schumann's works all of the power, drama, and sweeping gesture that they deserve. Despite the thick scoring, the two artists maintain a well-planned balance. Kliegel's playing is rich and authoritative, impeccably in tune, and filled with nuance of dynamics, color, and articulation. Listeners unfamiliar with this noteworthy composer would do well to start with this fine example of his works.
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