Schumann: Papillons, Davidsbundlertanze, Arabeske / Proshayev

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SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze. Papillons. Arabesque • Denys Proshayev (pn) • PIANO 0057 (59:20) Davidsbündlertänze represents the high point of inspiration among Schumann’s sets of short piano...


SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze. Papillons. Arabesque Denys Proshayev (pn) PIANO 0057 (59:20)


Davidsbündlertänze represents the high point of inspiration among Schumann’s sets of short piano pieces, as Dichterliebe does among his song cycles. The wit, variety, technical innovation, melodic inspiration, and artful, sometimes jolting segués between pieces (or songs) in both works make them Schumann’s finest collections.


While Davidsbündlertänze may sound randomly kaleidoscopic, it’s actually purposefully structured, as 12 dances are balanced by six pieces of either lyrical or stormy character. Davidsbündler’s 18 pieces, like Dichterliebe’s 16 songs, cohere as a cycle and neither work can be successfully excerpted.


The Belarus-born pianist Denys Proshayev is a sympathetic guide to Davidsbündlertänze ’s structure, slightly downplaying the speed and extroversion of a few of the pieces (nos. 9 and 10), and lavishing the longest, most introverted movement, no 7, with his most tender touch and patient pacing. It, and the other “Eusebian” pieces, become the emotional focus of the cycle. Throughout, he plays with a real sense of caprice, employing a daring amount of rubato that either feels convincing (no. 1) or tugs at the music too much (no. 4). Proshayev clearly has a top-level technique, though it’s not on display, but employed at the service of his total identification with Schumann’s music.


His performance of Papillon s is full of energy, giddy and impulsive compared to Wilhelm Kempff’s straighter pacing in the last performance of the work that I reviewed. Both performances communicate affection and a dance feeling, though Proshayev is the showier dancer. This easily recommendable Schumann disc ends with the ubiquitous Arabesque in a beautiful, calm reading. Piano Classics’ sound is good, on the bright side.


FANFARE: Paul Orgel


Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 19, 2013


  • UPC: 5065001863769


  • Catalog Number: PCL0057


  • Label: Piano Classics


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Robert Schumann


  • Performer: Denys Proshayev