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Schumann: Variationen & Fantasiestucke / Andreas Staier

Schumann / Staier
Release Date: 10/14/2014 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902171   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Performer:  Andreas Staier
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Like its predecessors, Andreas Staier’s third Schumann release for Harmonia Mundi features a colorful 1837 Erard model. The pianist’s intelligent interpretations abound in nuance and expressive gestures, no doubt inspired by the instrument’s striking timbral distinctions from register to register. In the Abegg Variations, notice the shapely dynamics of the second variation’s left-hand accents, or the humorous phrasings of No. 3’s cross-handed patterns that justify its basic heavy gait.

Those who take the title of Schumann’s Op. 12 Fantasiestücke literally will not be disappointed by Staier’s gifts for mood painting. His shimmering cantabile voicings in Des Abends are a case in point, although the ritards at phrase
Read more endings grow increasingly predictable. Staier’s Aufschwung may not match modern piano versions by Richter or Brendel for sheer kinetic thrust, yet he keeps the outer-voice counterpoint and swirling middle-register filler in perfect perspective. He similarly underplays Traumes Wirren’s etude-like right-hand part, highlighting instead the left-hand dotted rhythms and bass lines.

The Op. 111 also receives a superb reading, especially notable for the way Staier’s expansive and flexible treatment of the first piece’s restless arpeggiated figurations reveal a linear dimension that foreshadows late Brahms. Then there is the specificity with which Staier indulges in the breaking of hands (playing the left before the right, rather than together). A good example of this can be found in the first of the “Ghost Variations”, where the “de-synchronized” triplet inner voices against the right-hand melody duplet rhythm allow the dissonances to truly hit home. It’s ironic how it often takes an old instrument to give you a new perspective on familiar music, especially when Andreas Staier’s in charge.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Theme and Variations for Piano on the name ABEGG, Op. 1 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Andreas Staier (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2013 
Venue:  Teldex Studio Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 35 Secs. 
2.
Phantasiestücke (8) for Piano, Op. 12 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Andreas Staier (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2013 
Venue:  Teldex Studio Berlin 
Length: 26 Minutes 28 Secs. 
3.
Phantasiestücke (3) for Piano, Op. 111 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Andreas Staier (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2013 
Venue:  Teldex Studio Berlin 
Length: 10 Minutes 39 Secs. 
4.
Variations on an Original Theme in E flat, WoO 24 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Andreas Staier (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854: pub 1939; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2013 
Venue:  Teldex Studio Berlin 
Length: 12 Minutes 14 Secs. 

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