Artur Pizarro - Schumann Lebensreise
- 01 – Allegro Op. 8
- 02 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – I. Stuecklein No. 1. Nicht schnell mit Innigkeit
- 03 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – II. Stuecklein No. 2. Sehr rasch
- 04 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – III. Stuecklein No. 3. Frisch
- 05 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – IV. Albumblatt No. 1. Ziemlich langsam
- 06 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – V. Albumblatt No. 2. Schnell
- 07 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – VI. Albumblatt No. 3. Ziemlich langsam sehr gesangvoll
- 08 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – VII. Albumblatt No. 4. Sehr langsam
- 09 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – VIII. Albumblatt No. 5. Langsam
- 10 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – IX. Novelette. Lebhaft
- 11 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – X. Praeludium. Energisch
- 12 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – XI. March. Sehr getragen
- 13 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – XII. Abendmusik. Im Menuetttempo
- 14 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – XIII. Scherzo. Lebhaft
- 15 – Bunte Blatter Op. 99 – XIV. Geschwindmarsch. Sehr markiert
- 16 – Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11 – I. Un poco adagio – Allegro vivace
- 17 – Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11 – II. Aria Senza passione ma espressivo
- 18 – Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11 – III. Scherzo
- 19 – Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 11 – IV. Finale Allegro un poco maestoso
Robert Schumann’s Bunte Blätter (‘Colourful Leaves’), encompassing works composed between about 1836 and 1849, is unique in Schumann’s output: under the umbrella of the collection as a whole there are two, smaller collections plus six individual pieces, each a finely-cut gem that sparkles in the hands of Artur Pizarro. Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 11, is a work of precocious coherence in which innovations abound, and the programme also includes the Allegro, Op. 8, a powerful movement that unfolds in the manner of a fantasia.
“Pizarro’s playing comes across as authentic, without looking for effects, with a bright touch full of colour, sometimes soft as velvet, but muscular and virtuoso if necessary… a more modern, more professional school of piano playing in which technique and virtuosity are unconditionally at the service of the composer’s intentions. With Pizarro, Schumann gets it all. He convincingly portrays a composer who is not inferior to Beethoven, but deserves a place alongside his great predecessor.”
Klassiek Centraal - Erik Langeveld / December 2020
“Artur Pizarro takes Schumann out of Beethoven's shadow
The Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro pays homage to the creative and revolutionary genius of Robert Schuman with his new CD Lebensreise. The three piano works on this CD offer a sample of the creative ingenuity of a composer who, compared to his predecessors Beethoven and Schubert, is not always appreciated.
The young Robert Schumann (1810-1856) completed his Allegro Op. 8 in 1831 but it was not published until 1835. Schumann dedicated it to his short-lived lover Ernestine von Fricken.
Characteristics of the Allegro are the strong contrasts, improvised passages, sometimes playful, sometimes virtuoso, with the power of Beethoven.
The piece opens abruptly, a moment of reflection follows, after which themes and motifs tumble over each other for ten minutes.
This is the work of an idiosyncratic genius who resolutely chose his own path, realizing that after Beethoven, creative life was only possible by avoiding the yawning trap of imitation and epigonism and rigorously embarking on the path of innovation.
A few years later in 1838, Schumann achieved great commercial success with Album für die Jugend (Album for Youth), a collection of short atmospheric compositions intended for the living room. Building on this success, he published a new collection in 1849 under the name Bunte Blätter (Colored Leaves). These were short works that he composed in the period 1836-1849.
Bunte Blätter provides a revealing insight into Schumann's creative ability. The fourteen pieces have a great variety, but have an intimate atmosphere in common. From tender, dreamy, modest, solemn, moving and almost impressionistic to dancing, exuberant, powerful, virtuoso and humorous.
The composer did himself an injustice by mockingly calling his collection 'Spreu' (chaff). Traditional forms were no longer sufficient for the most individual expression. By subordinating form to content, he acquired his coveted creative freedom. A new genre was born.
The highlight of this CD, the Sonate in F sharp Op.11 no. 1 (1838), also shows Schumann's struggle to escape the straitjacket of the classical sonata form. The first movement, with its unbalanced tonality and erratic themes, is far removed from the conceptions of the sonata at the time as a succession of theme, development and reprise. After a short and gloomy adagio, a lively, surprising play between the different themes arises, characterized by Schumann's typical character changes.
The short Aria with the designation senza passione, ma espressivo characterizes the emotional person Schumann. Where feelings should not be confused with sentimentality, a quality that was foreign to him.
The humorous Scherzo is notable for its two trios, the first of which is reminiscent of a belly organ, the second alla burla, ma pomposa is reminiscent of a solemn clog dance.
A finale in which a striking theme is alternated with a delicate intermezzo concludes this wonderful creation full of brilliant ideas, rich feelings and unexpected twists.
It shows a composer who dared to go further than where Beethoven left off and who, as a pioneer of Romanticism, would exert a great influence on future generations.
Pizarro's playing comes across as authentic, without looking for effects, with a bright touch full of colour, sometimes soft as velvet, but muscular and virtuoso if necessary.
Yet he is not a keyboard lion in the classic sense of the word. Pizarro represents a more modern, more professional school of piano playing in which technique and virtuosity are unconditionally at the service of the composer's intentions. With Pizarro, Schumann gets it all. He convincingly portrays a composer who is not inferior to Beethoven, but deserves a place alongside his great predecessor.
We are already looking forward to Pizarro's next travelogue.”
“After a finely nuanced excursion through the Bunte Blätter, to which he gives coherence and consistency, he arrives at the First Piano Sonata … Pizarro plays it with a mixture of spontaneity … and structural superiority, which fully preserves the pure musicality of this beautiful music”.
Pizzicato - Remy Franck / November 2020
“The Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro plays a Schumann programme which begins with the rarely heard Allegro op. 8, which is about 10 minutes long. After a finely nuanced excursion through the Bunte Blätter, to which he gives coherence and consistency, he arrives at the First Piano Sonata, written between 1832-1836 and dedicated to Schumann’s later wife Clara. Pizarro plays it with a mixture of spontaneity (which I would have wished for more in the Bunte Blätter) and structural superiority, which fully preserves the pure musicality of this beautiful music. And logically from this feeling follows that of the impetuous, youthful passion. The second movement is very cantabile, with a rich, seemingly glittering brilliance. In the last two movements, too, Pizarro achieves a very simple excitement, as imaginative as the music itself, which is attractive in its naturalness.”