Magazine article Gramophone

C & R Schumann: 'Romance'

Magazine article Gramophone

C & R Schumann: 'Romance'

Article excerpt

C & R Schumann [G] 'Romance' C Schumann Piano Concerto, Op 7 (a). Romances Op 11 (b); Op 22. Piano Sonata. Deuxieme Scherzo R Schumann Mondnacht, Op 39 No 5. Widmung, Op 25 No 1 (both transcr C Schumann) Isata Kanneh-Mason pf (b) Elena Urioste vn (a) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Holly Mathieson Decca (F) 485 0020 (76' * DDD)

Whatever this disc's shortcomings--and they are few--it ranks among the most charming and engaging debuts I can recall. Joining her cellist younger brother Sheku on the same label, Isata Kanneh-Mason chooses for her first visit to the studio not a selection of the same old same old but a single-composer programme of works with which few will be familiar and by someone who, without the current attention on her bicentenary year, is regularly overlooked. Moreover, we are presented not with a string of solo piano works but a representative survey of Clara Schumann's oeuvre: a piano concerto, a sonata, chamber music, short solo works and transcriptions, all presented in chronological order of composition. So before a note is heard three cheers!

Let me say straight away that the concerto performance gives Howard Shelley's recent superb recording (Hyperion, 5/19) a run for its money. The wider variety of touch and tone that Shelley brings to the score and a greater understated assurance tip the balance in his favour, and I also think Kanneh-Mason is just a tad too slow in the lovely slow movement (Jonathan Aasgaard is the eloquent cello soloist). …

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