Clara Schumann: Piano Trio; Franz Schubert: Quartet Rosamunde; Trio D471

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C. SCHUMANN Piano Trio in g. SCHUBERT String Quartet No. 13 in a, “Rosamunde” . String Trio in B? Gunilla Süssman (pn); Antje Weithaas, Christian Tetzlaff, Gergana Gergova (vn); Rachel Roberts, Wolkver Jacobsen (va); Alban Gerhardt (vc) DEUTSCHLANDFUNK 8553294 (68:40)

Reading almost anything written about Clara Schumann, I am reminded somehow of Anne Brontë, a fine novelist who was the talented sister to two geniuses. Anne can’t win in the critical world, and Clara, who besides being reputedly one of the best pianists of her era was one of its better composers, can’t win either. The annotator to this collection of live performances from the Spannungen Chamber Festival virtually apologizes for Schumann as a good student who, sad to say, never learned “that rules are meant to be broken.” It strikes me that, living with Robert Schumann, and hearing his works, Clara Schumann had plenty of opportunities to realize that rules could be broken. Perhaps his pathology made her leery of going outside certain boundaries. Nonetheless, I find her Piano Trio a mostly pleasing work with touching themes that aren’t necessarily developed as compellingly as those of the greatest of her contemporaries. But the Finale is memorable and lively.

Schubert is the greater companion here. The String Quartet is played almost carefully, or at least to my mind with not the most desirable fervor. Lines meant to fade sensitively seem rather to peter out. I prefer my recordings by the Italian Quartet, the Guarneris and the Emerson Quartet. The playful String Trio is performed well, but still I would pick up this disc mainly for the Schumann.

FANFARE: Michael Ullman

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: AVI 8553294

  • UPC: 4260085532940

  • Label: Cavi

  • Composer: Clara Wieck Schumann, Franz Schubert

  • Performer: Alban Gerhardt, Antje Weithaas, Christian Tetzlaff, Gergana Gergova, Gunilla Süssmann, Rachel Roberts, Tanja Tetzlaff, Volker Jacobsen