Schumann - Carnaval | Odradek Records ODRCD342

Schumann - Carnaval


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Label: Odradek Records

Cat No: ODRCD342

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 31st March 2017



The album ĎCarnavalí takes the listener on a journey through Robert Schumannís life: from his passionate early piano pieces, inspired by youthful feelings of ardour, to his haunting final piano work, composed when his mind was in turmoil.

Award-winning Spanish-born pianist Juan Carlos has long been a devotee of Schumannís fascinating output, and has meticulously constructed this programme to reflect each era of the composerís career. Carnaval was inspired not by Clara Wieck, who would become Schumannís wife, but by an infatuation with Ernestine von Fricken. The work is a masked ball of colourful characters, brought to life by Schumannís rich imagination: Chopin and Paganini make an appearance, alongside characters from the commedia dell'arte and Schumannís own alter egos.

Also inspired by a carnival is Faschingschwank aus Wien (ĎCarnival Jest from Viennaí), stimulated by the composerís enjoyment of a Viennese spectacle. There are moments of vibrant virtuosity to conjure up the festival atmosphere, but this is no mere picturesque tribute, and there are subtler, more satirical, elements at play.

Schumannís last piano work, the Geistervariationen (ĎGhost Variationsí) are, as their title suggests, in a very different vein to the earlier works featured on this disc. The variations were written during a severe mental crisis near the composerís death, Schumann claiming that the theme had been presented to him by angels. The music is indeed angelic; almost painfully serene and other-worldly, revealing a composer whose participation in life was only partial, and who yearned to be at peace.

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