This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Pires is an engagingly natural scene-painter, approaching the music with a welcome lightness of heart. These performances are all the more touching for their simplicity.
The Arabeske, Drei Romanzen and Faschingsschwank aus Wien all date from towards the end of the still unmarried Schumann's legendary first decade of keyboard writing. The Waldszenen followed some ten years later, by which time he had children of his own. Endearing as they all are, they contain less of his heart's blood than the great Clara-yearning masterpieces of his early and middle twenties. This is clearly portrayed in Pires's light-footed approach where nothing is emotionally inflated.
In the Waldszenen, chosen first, she is an
engagingly natural scene-painter. Tempos are sometimes fastish, notably in the eloquently poetic closing "Abschied", and to a lesser extent in the ominously inflected opening and closing sections of "Vogel als Prophet". But her sensitive phrasing still wins the day. In the Arabeske I would only question her faster speed for its second minor-key episode marked "somewhat slower". But the recurrent main theme is delectably liquid, and the two brief Clara recollections in the middle and at the end are all the more touching for their simplicity. Of the Drei Romanzen, the tranquilly sustained central "love-duet" (as Clara once described it) reveals Pires at her best. In the concluding Faschingsschwank aus Wien I admired her determination not to allow repetitive rhythms to sound patterned. Yet I still wondered if the bigger flanking movements (and particularly the contrasting episodes of the opening Allegro) needed a firmer underlying stability of pulse — if only so that Schumann's teasing syncopations could tell more clearly. But she enjoys the fun throughout with a welcome lightness of heart. The recording itself is pleasingly mellow and true.
--Joan Chissell, Gramophone [6/1995]
Works on This Recording
Waldszenen, Op. 82 by Robert Schumann
Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Written: 1848-1849; Germany
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