ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856) – COMPLETE WORKS FOR PEDAL PIANO
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Code: ARS PRODUKTION SACD 38011
|Studies for the Pedal piano, Op.56
Sketches the Pedal piano, Op.58
Six Fugues on the Name BACH, Op.60
Canon D major, Op.124/2
The year 1844 marked a turning-point in Schumann’s life: a severe mental crisis, together with a complete physical breakdown, temporarily brought his creativity to a standstill. He abandoned, after ten years of activity, the editorial post of the “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik”, which he had created, and moved with his family from Leipzig to Dresden. During the following year, in his new abode, his health only gradually improved. The fact that Schumann, at that time, together with his wife Clara, dedicated himself with genuine enthusiasm to contrapuntal studies, might indeed be viewed as a special measure of self-therapy, a method of mental discipline. The products of this “fugue passion" as he himself called it, were a series of works in austere style, which also testify to his deep veneration for Johann Sebastian Bach, a veneration certainly dating from the early years when he analysed the “Well-tempered Clavier” or copied out the “Art of fugue” for studying purposes. The pieces presented on this CD, besides the “Four fugues” op. 72 for piano, belong to this series of works: the “Six Fugues on the name of BACH” for the piano or the organ op. 60, the “Studies” op. 56 and the “Sketches” op. 58.
The first recording of all these works on a pedal piano made by Pleyel solves most of the acoustic problems which forcibly arise from the now frequently practised interpretation of op. 56 and 58 on the organ. It also lets the BACH fugues, originally conceived for the organ, appear in a new light. The unique significance of these three works, which blend the spirit of Bach with the advanced tonal language of the romantic period in an ideal way, without any historicizing academic strictness or boredom, will thus perhaps be more clearly discernible.