Notes and Editorial Reviews
...[T]he main reason for procuring this disc is the marvelous and singular reading of Schumann’s relatively messed-up Concerto for Solo Piano. The tortured naming conventions of this work are legion, and of the composer’s own doing. There are in fact three versions of this work that pretty much existed concurrently for the majority of Schumann’s creative life. The Concerto for Solo Piano, which we have here, is a five-movement piece dedicated to Moscheles, and was written in Leipzig in 1836. The work is still not published complete, though the autograph does exist, the basis for this recording. It is an astonishing work, fully worthy of the name of Schumann, and Henschel does it proud. The same year Schumann brought out a reduced version of
the piece and called it Concert sans orchestre, the first “authorized” appearance of this music at all. Finally, in 1853 Schumann’s publisher asked for one of the “dropped” movements (the second Scherzo) to be added back to the work, making it match the accepted four-movement sonata form of the day, and it became the Grand sonate, or his commonly accepted Third Piano Sonata. Wife Clara played the sonata for Brahms, who in turn performed the three-movement Concerto without Orchestra in public. Today one is free to choose which version to perform, and it is nice to hear the composer’s first (though non-sanctioned) version of this noteworthy music. Henschel has done us a favor by restoring it and in doing so makes his effort almost self-recommending. The clear and well-balanced piano sound only adds to its desirability.
FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
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