This issue brings together some of Schumann's greatest piano music interpreted with aplomb and deep musicianship by Marc André Hamelin.
I marginally prefer Rudolf Kempe in the Second Sonata although Hyperion's splendidly vivid recording pays dividends and the scintillating technique of this young Canadian pianist still makes his version a highly valuable one. In the 33-minute Fantasie, Hamelin finds mystery and ebullient charm, indeed his performance seems to grow in stature as the sprawling nature of the work progresses.
Finally there is the ubiquitous 'Études symphoniques', a retreat to Schumann's earlier days as a piano composer but no less wonderfully fantastic and exhilaratingly inventive. Hamelin does them supreme justice and his recording can confidently be counted as one of the best around at present. Nichloas Marston writes detailed and scholary notes on the works concerned and the wonderful cover painting, 'A River Scene in Alsace' by Kuwasseg fits like a glove with the music.
Highly recommended then and I await further piano music by Schumann from Hamelin with keen anticipation.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech