- 01 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – I. Preambule
- 02 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – II. Pierrot
- 03 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – III. Arlequin
- 04 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – IV. Valse noble
- 05 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – V. Eusebius
- 06 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – VI. Florestan
- 07 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – VII. Coquette
- 08 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – VIIIa. Replique
- 09 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – VIIIb. Sphinxes
- 10 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – IX. Papillons
- 11 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – X. ASCH-SCHA (lettres dansantes)
- 12 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XI. Chiarina
- 13 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XII. Chopin
- 14 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XIII. Estrella
- 15 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XIV. Reconnaissance
- 16 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XV. Pantalon et Colombine
- 17 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XVI. Valse allemande – Intermezzo Paganini
- 18 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XVII. Aveu
- 19 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XVIII. Promenade
- 20 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XIX. Pause
- 21 – Robert Schumann – Carnaval Op. 9 – XX. Marche des Davidsbundler contre les Philistins
- 22 – Robert Schumann – Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 – I. Allegro – Molto animato
- 23 – Robert Schumann – Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 – II. Romanze – Piu tosto lento
- 24 – Robert Schumann – Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 – III. Scherzino
- 26 – Robert Schumann – Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 – V. Finale – Estremamente veloce
- 27 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – I. Tema – Leise innig
- 28 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – II. Var. I
- 29 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – III. Var. II. Canonisch
- 30 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – IV. Var. III. Etwas belebter
- 31 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – V. Var. IV
- 32 – Robert Schumann – Geistervariationen – VI. Var. V
JUAN CARLOS – CARNAVAL – SCHUMANN
Carnaval takes us on a journey through Robert Schumann’s life: from his passionate early piano pieces, inspired by youthful feelings of ardour, to his haunting final piano work, composed when his mind was in turmoil.
Award-winning pianist Juan Carlos has long been a devotee of Schumann’s fascinating output, and has meticulously constructed this programme to reflect each era of the composer’s career. Carnaval was inspired not by Clara Wieck, who would become Schumann’s wife, but by an infatuation with Ernestine von Fricken. The work is a masked ball of colourful characters, brought to life by Schumann’s rich imagination: Chopin and Paganini make an appearance, alongside characters from the commedia dell’arte and Schumann’s own alter egos.
Also inspired by a carnival is the Faschingschwank aus Wien – ‘Carnival Jest from Vienna’, inspired by the composer’s enjoyment of a Viennese spectacle. There are moments of vibrant virtuosity to conjure up the festival atmosphere, but this is no mere picturesque tribute, and there are subtler, more satirical, elements at play.
Schumann’s last piano work, the Geistervariationen – ‘Ghost Variations’ – are, as their title suggests, in a very different vein to the earlier works featured on this disc. The variations were written during a severe mental crisis near the composer’s death, Schumann claiming that the theme had been presented to him by angels. The music is indeed angelic; almost painfully serene and other-worldly, revealing a composer whose participation in life was only partial, and who yearned to be at peace.
Juan Carlos takes the listener through these contrasting phases with aplomb. An essential disc for all lovers of Schumann’s piano music.
Booklet in English, Spanish and German.
Program notes by Joanna Wyld.
“Everything is transparent, neatly executed… Carlos’s Carnaval has some interesting individual touches…”
Gramophone - Jeremy Nicholas / September 2017
“Studio Odradek is an audibly small, acoustically controlled space where the instrument is a (2008) Steinway Model B. To some extent, the restricted but not unattractive resulting sound reflects the character of Juan Carlos’s concept. Everything is transparent, neatly executed with a dynamic spectrum of f to p, in tidy performances that rarely stray beyond the confines of the studio.
Nevertheless, Carlos’s Carnaval has some interesting individual touches. For instance, he includes ‘Sphinx’, those three strange bars, different permutations of the A S C H theme that occurs throughout the work, inserted between No 8, ‘Réplique’, and No 9, ‘Papillons’. Most pianists omit them. Carlos copies Rachmaninov’s solution (r1929) of a sinister sustained bass tremolo and prefacing the third section with an added A natural. In No 15, ‘Pantalon et Colmbine’, he highlights the right hand’s quaver G and crotchet F in the second bar (which is what Schumann’s notation indicates) instead of following, as is generally favoured, the downwards trajectory of staccato semiquavers as the leading voice. However, he gives us the conventional view of ‘Chopin’ (No 12), poetic and lyrical, of course, but not agitato or forte as marked (turn to Hamelin – Hyperion, 1/06 – for this).
The coupling is apt. Schumann’s original title for Carnaval was Fasching: Schwänke auf vier Noten (‘Carnival: Jests on Four Notes’); Faschingsschwank aus Wien, composed four years later (1839), is another carnival with those magical four letters ASCH. The same emotional and tonal constraints pertain but listening to Michelangeli’s live performance (1957, Royal Festival Hall – Testament, 12/96) reveals how much more there is to this wonderful score, and how much it benefits from the imagination of a greater artist and the singing tone of a full-size grand – especially in the Intermezzo, surely one of the composer’s most impassioned utterances, to say nothing of the skyrocketing finale.
Carlos concludes his programme with the Geistervariationen, a work that might seem out of place with what has gone before but which the pianist feels depicts ‘an ethereal, ghostly carnival from within, probing different facets of a single character’.”
“I was dazzled by this record… everything is clear, sonorous… a revelation!”
Thierry Vagne / 18 March 2017
“I was dazzled by this record: this 30-year-old Spanish pianist proposes a ‘rare’ pianism: all the flesh of the fingers, a perfect homogeneity of the registers: all timbre, everything clear, sonorous, never harsh, sometimes sounding like an organ or ... Arrau… a revelation! And what a Steinway!”