On volume two in harmonia mundi’s series of complete recordings of Schumann’s concertos and trios, pianist Alexander Melnikov gives us an interpretation of the composer’s evergreen Piano Concerto that respects all the subtleties and transparency of the composer’s writing. Pablo Heras-Casado guides the Freiburger Barockorchester through a fresh approach to one of the finest concertos in the repertory and uncovers music as poetic as it is moving. To complete the program, Melnikov is joined by violinist Isabelle Faust and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras in an inspired performance of the Piano Trio No.2.
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Release date: Mar 11, 2015
“One factor that really gives a lift to the sound is the use of gut-stringed instruments and orchestral forces that Schumann would have recognised; Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra made an impression on me with their recording of Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang some months ago, and they’ve worked the same magic here; the music just has that extra little bit of bite where it’s needed (especially those driving triplets in the strings that permeate the first movement) and it really makes it leap off the page. If space permitted I could wax lyrical at great length about the haunting moments in the dreamlike slow movement and the stately jollity (if that’s not a contradiction) of the finale, which takes the unusual form of a Polonaise. Doubtless other concerti exist that make use of this dance form, but none spring to mind; it’s a refreshingly original idea that brings the work to a less frenetic close than might a Rondo vivace, though there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities for Isabelle Faust to shine in agile passagework.”