Schumann: Humoreske Op. 20; Studien für den Pedalflügel Op. 56; Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133
The highly personal and often chimerical piano music of Robert Schumann requires a confident interpreter who can enter the music with full awareness of the composer's quirks, yet not become so involved with their strangeness that he gets lost. For this Virgin release, the brilliant Piotr Anderszewski has chosen two works that show the extremes of Schumann's divided personality: the youthful and playful "Humoresque, Op. 20," and the late, madness-tinged "Morning Songs, Op. 133." In between them is the sober set of "Studies for the Pedal Piano, Op. 56," which, in its serious counterpoint and controlled expressions, stands apart from Schumann's wild mood swings and emotionally turbulent music. Because these three works are seldom performed and are open to fresh possibilities, Anderszewski has free reign to explore the whimsy and sorrow of the "Humoresque," the intellectuality of the "Studies," and the brooding of the "Morning Songs," and the range of his comprehension and expression is wide indeed. To understand Schumann's personality certainly requires exposure to much more than a single CD of his keyboard pieces, no matter how well played, but if one needed an album to encapsulate the composer's musical life in soul-stirring performances, Anderszewski's disc would be an excellent resource.