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See latest reviews of other albums..., August 2012

This is one of the works that Biret performs on her new Schumann CD for IBA—and it really is new, having been recorded in January of this year. The complexities and technical demands of Schumann’s music are quite different from those of Liszt, and Biret accordingly handles this music with a lighter touch and considerable attention to its structure. The first two parts of the work are more hectic, the third more meditative, and Biret brings out the differing sections sure-handedly and with great skill. The Abegg Variations, Schumann’s Op. 1, are more straightforward, and here Biret opts for clarity of line and delicacy throughout, producing an altogether winning performance. The Toccata, Op. 7, on the other hand, is a pure display piece—Clara Wieck, later Clara Schumann, used it often in her recitals—and Biret plays it for all it is worth, which turns out to be quite a bit. She also serves the sheer drama and enthusiasm of the fourth and last movement of the Sonata No. 2 in G minor very well: this very fast rondo (marked Presto and getting even speedier toward its conclusion) is a bright and brilliant tour de force that caps a work of greatly varying moods, from the intensity of the first movement to the lyricism of the second and rather jagged energy of the Scherzo. In some of the earlier recordings released by IBA, Biret has stood a bit apart from or above the music, thinking about it so carefully that a certain level of emotional involvement was diminished. Not so on either of these Solo Edition CDs: Biret is fully involved in the music, highly expressive as well as totally in command of her instrument, and the result is two discs filled with excellence from start to finish. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2012

Recorded performances of Schumann’s Second Sonata fall into two categories, the first which see the work through the eyes of Liszt, and the second as an offshoot of Mendelssohn. Idil Biret comes somewhere between the two, her second movement carrying more contemplative sadness than I have ever heard in this music. It is in the finale that she departs from the outgoing virtuosity we hear in many accounts, while keeping the tempo moving forward with suitable urgency and avoiding overstated mood changes. She takes the same undemonstrative view of the Fantasie, the central movement never becoming frenetic, her reading looking towards the work’s beauty and poetry particularly in her unhurried finale. Opening the disc with an affectionate and spacious reading of his first published work, the Abegg Variations, there is at the other end of the disc the Toccata that brings Biret’s showpiece of dexterity and makes a nice final contrast . A pianist who excels in lyric music, the playing is always transparent, a fact made even more manifest by the unfussy and realistic piano tone. Excellent programme notes round off the fourth of Biret’s ‘Solo Edition’. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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