Notes and Editorial Reviews
Klavierbüchlein für Marie. Ein Gang durch die Musikgeschichte. Originalstücke zum “Album für die Jugend” die nicht in den Erstdruck aufgenommen wurden
Florian Uhlig (pn)
HÄNSSLER 98.011 (71:06)
the projected 15 volumes of Florian Uhlig’s complete Schumann cycle, accompanied by extensive booklet notes by Johannes Draheim that represent the latest Schumann scholarship, will be an encyclopedic compilation of every scrap of Schumann’s piano music including fragments and alternate versions. The collections of short, sometimes charming, but far from significant pieces that make up most of this latest installment, Volume 5, entitled
Schumann and his Daughters
, make it feel like an appendix.
The least miniature compositions here are three multi-movement
, Schumann’s op. 118, pedagogical works. Unlike
, these sonatina-like sonatas never appear on concert programs, but unlike
Album for the Young
, they are seldom taught, because in spite of their intentional technical limitations, they end up feeling long-winded for their material. I prefer their brief inner movements, character pieces, to those in standard sonata forms. Each sonata is dedicated to one of Schumann’s daughters—Julie, Elise, and Marie; Draheim’s notes acquaint us with each of them—and the pieces represent three successive levels of technical difficulty. Each of the first movements begins in a striking way: with grace and innocence (No. 1), lilting rhythm (No. 2), and celebratory exuberance (No. 3), but each wears out its welcome with overly repetitious development. The repeated quotations, in the final movement of No. 3, of the opening of No. 1’s first movement feel particularly labored.
In his thoroughness, Uhlig skirts around
Album for the Young
, which one might expect to be included here, programming a group of familiar selections that weren’t included in the
’s first edition. He also offers a group of pieces, some only brief sketches that were intended, but ultimately not included in the
, including a version of the “Wild Rider” with a slightly different ending. I assume that the complete
will be included in a future volume, perhaps along with
Schumann and Childhood
Schumann the piano teacher is further represented by a collection of short selections called
Ein Gang durch die Musikgeschichte
that he gave to his daughter Marie as an educational “promenade” through some of his favorite music. Included either in original keyboard form or transcribed is music by Bach (the Minuet from the Fifth Partita), Handel (the “Harmonius Blacksmith” theme), Mozart (“Vedrai carino” from
), Beethoven (the third movement theme from the Sonata, op. 109, and the “Ode to Joy” theme), Gluck (an excerpt from
), Schubert (a ländler), and Weber, “Kaspar’s Drinking Song” from
the latter including some spoken dialog delivered by Uhlig. It’s nice to imagine Schumann choosing these tasteful excerpts, and to imagine how Marie might have played them.
Uhlig plays all of the music on this disc in an unpretentious manner that’s ideally suited to the typical “singing” quality of most of it. His performances of the
are similar, and equal in quality to those of Eric Le Sage, whose ongoing cycle of Schumann’s piano and chamber music on Alpha is superb. I prefer Hänssler’s clearer acoustic to Alpha’s more reverberant recorded sound.
FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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