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David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2018

With the title ‘Fantasies and Fairy Tales’, this generously filled disc takes us into Schumann’s best known concert hall music performed on the period instruments. I would have to confess in having mixed feelings about such ventures, as the composer may well have been delighted if he had today’s pianos at his disposal. Others would argue he might have changed his music to suite the instruments we have today. On whatever side of the fence you sit, you will not doubt the outstanding quality and ideal interpretations of this group of performers, their research into performing style detailed in a most interesting accompanying booklet. In it Aapo Hakkinen points towards the fact that many ‘period instrument’ performances do nothing more than scratch at the surface of period authenticity. Schumann was, of course, a pianist and in the music included on this disc the instrument does tend to dominate in both duos and trios. Certainly Aapo Hakkinen’s 1843 Playel can pack plenty of weight when needed, and he gives a riveting account of the opus 111 Fantasiestucke, and we do get to hear Alexander Rudin’s elegant cello in the Adagio and Allegro. A less honest sound engineer would no doubt have tweaked the balance to give a more substantial roll to Asko Heiskanen who is playing a reproduction clarinet in Marchenerzahlungen, but these are minor points in a very valuable release. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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