Schu­mann • Wid­mann

BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber Reviews -

Märch­en­erzäh­lun­gen, Op. 132; Fan­tasi­estücke, Op. 73; Märchen­bilder, Op. 113;

Once Upon a Time...; Five Pieces in a Fairy Tale Mood

Jorg Wid­mann (clar­inet),

Tabea Zim­mer­mann (vi­ola),

Dénes Vár­jon (pi­ano)

Myrios Clas­sics MYR 020 70:29 mins The idea of com­bin­ing the pi­ano with clar­inet and vi­ola – two in­stru­ments of sim­i­lar dark-hued reg­is­ter – was ini­tially Mozart’s, in his so-called ‘Kegel­statt’ Trio, K498. Schu­mann was the first com­poser brave enough to fol­low in Mozart’s foot­steps, with his Märch­en­erzäh­lun­gen (‘Fairy Tale Fan­tasies’, as he orig­i­nally called them), and the chal­lenge was later taken up by Max Bruch and György Kurtág. The Ger­man clar­inet­tist and com­poser Jörg Wid­mann is the lat­est to try his hand at writ­ing for the same en­sem­ble, and the ti­tle of his new piece, Once upon a time…, clearly pays homage to Schu­mann’s late trio, as well as to his Märchen­bilder (Fairy Tale Pic­tures) Op. 113, for vi­ola and pi­ano. The first move­ment of Wid­mann’s piece has frag­ments in Schum­manesque style f loat­ing in and out of fo­cus, and the

last move­ment, with its ti­tle ‘And if they did not die’, is an es­cape into a van­ished world of dreams. It’s an al­to­gether im­pres­sive work, and Wid­mann is joined in this pre­miere record­ing by two ideal col­leagues: the vi­ola player Tabea Zim­mer­mann and the pi­anist Dénes Vár­jon.

Of the Schu­mann pieces, the most fa­mil­iar are the three Fan­tasy Pieces for clar­inet and pi­ano, which are of­ten ap­pro­pri­ated by cel­lists, but no less beau­ti­ful are the Op. 113 Märchen­bilder for vi­ola, with their ur­gent, vir­tu­oso penul­ti­mate num­ber and their haunt­ing vale­dic­tory fi­nale. The Märch­en­erzäh­lun­gen, com­posed in the last full year of Schu­mann’s cre­ative life, are more elu­sive, though their char­ac­ter is well cap­tured in these per­for­mances. Al­to­gether, a fas­ci­nat­ing pro­gramme, su­perbly played and recorded. Misha Donat PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★★

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