Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

James Manheim, November 2009

The available selection of Clara Schumann’s songs has been increasing, which is all to the good; they reveal a composer whose thinking was closely connected with that of her husband, who had the talent to keep up with what he was doing, and whose musical language in the realm of the art song kept developing even as Robert turned away from the genre. This Naxos release takes an unusual approach: it is, essentially, a historically authentic performance of the songs. Swiss-German pianist Hedayet Djeddikar uses an 1828 Stein piano owned by Clara Schumann herself, and the accompaniments take on the subtle colors made possible by fortepiano performance. Djeddikar has an especially nice way with Schumann’s treatment of the upper register in the accompaniment, which adds a fantastic, melancholy, or playful note depending on the circumstances. Soprano Dorothea Craxton tries for an intimate vocal approach to match the piano and the charming sonic ambiance of the Schumannhaus in Zwickau.

Paul Orgel
Fanfare, July 2009

From the agitated opening song, “Er ist gekommen,” to the exhuberant Walzer with its funny keyboard interludes, Clara Schumann’s songs give real pleasure. They are somewhat modest in scope, but show considerable compositional range and even when some of the same texts are used, they aren’t derivative of her husband’s settings. Most important, Clara was a gifted composer of melodies and most of the songs have memorable ones. (Try the tender “Liebst du um Schoenheit” from the op. 12, or Beim Abschied.) The piano parts are resourceful and almost never repeat the same accompaniment pattern from song to song.

The six-octave Stein fortepiano used in the recording is the actual one that Clara’s father, Friedrich Wieck, bought for her in 1828. Hedayet Djeddikar’s shapely, characterful playing helps the performance, and hearing the composer’s original instrument’s gentle rumblings and tinkly upper register adds to the recording’s atmosphere.

John Boyer
American Record Guide, May 2009

Hedayet Djeddikar plays Clara Schumann’s 1828 Stein piano, a Viennese instrument encompassing six octaves. It has a very lovely sound, much more modern in tone color than the fortepianos of Beethoven’s era, but softer and less bright than a modern instrument. It’s the perfect piano for this repertory…

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, March 2009

This new Naxos seems promising since it also includes first versions of two of the songs from Op. 13. Moreover it was recorded in the Schumannhaus in Zwickau on Clara’s own fortepiano. A period performance in other words…There is no denying that Clara Schumann’s compositions should be taken seriously and there is a lot to admire and return to on this disc.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2009

It was her father’s young piano student, Robert Schumann, that turned Clara Wieck’s life upside down, his presence in their household bringing love and turmoil in almost equal quantities. As a child prodigy Clara had made her first public appearance aged nine, and three years later was touring as a major concert artist, while at the same time continuing her piano, singing, violin and composition studies. As his piano student her father had allowed Schumann, nine years older than his daughter, to live with the Wiecks. The two youngsters fell in love and after a bitter legal battle, in which Friedrich Wieck vehemently opposed the marriage to his teenage daughter, the law intervened to allow the marriage. Though Robert wished to be seen to encourage her continued concert and composing career, in reality it was a position made almost impossible by having 8 children in 14 years. Yet she managed to write a few piano pieces and the songs that are contained on this disc. They show a very gifted person who in this genre could have rivalled her husband. Strangely after his death in 1856 she wrote no more, but returned to the concert stage, touring extensively almost until her death in 1896. The major works came in two groups gathered as Six Lieder opus 13 and opus 23, though her most famous pieces were the four to Ruckert poems, three of which Robert published with his own to form the Twelve Ruckert Songs. Thirteen unrelated songs complete the disc, the texts speaking of love and the sadness that love can often engender, each one showing Clara’s ready gift of creating attractive melody. Certainly Geheimes Flustern (Soft whispers) from 1854 and to words by Hermann Rollett, is one of the most gorgeous songs of that era. Always kind to the voice in the range and lyric flow, Clara’s piano background is evident in the beautifully crafted accompaniments. I came to know many of them some years ago in a mixed recital disc from Barbara Bonney and Vladimir Ashkenazy that is still unsurpassed. They are here performed by the German soprano, Dorothea Craxton, best known as the founder of the Immortal-Bach-Ensemble and a champion of music by women composers. She is partnered by Hedayet Djeddikar playing Clara Schumann’s magnificent fortepiano.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group