Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Scherzo op. 14
Romanze op. 21
Toccatina op. 6
Two Romances op. 11
Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann op. 20
Three Romances for violin and piano
Trio for violin, cello and piano op17

Micaela Gelius (piano)
Sreten Krstiº (violin)
Stephan Haack (cello)
rec Sept 1999, Munich
ARTE NOVA 74321 72106 2 [70.57]

If Clara Schumann's music often seems to stray, stylistically speaking, from the pages of her husband's music we should not complain. What is more significant is the conviction she brings to her music whether it is the step-defined virtuosity of the Scherzo op. 14 or the ineffable delicacy of the Romance op. 11 no. 1. Gelius invests mystery, tension and Byronic abandon into this music. The Variations on a Theme from Robert Schumann's Bünten Blättern op 99 seem pretty mechanistic, to me, unlifted by the freer rein she allows herself in opp. 6, 11, 14 and 21. The three Romances for violin and piano are all gracious fluency without being gushing. Much the same can be said of the Op. 17 Trio although here the emotional range is wider taking in both joy and severity and in the second movement a dance-like character.

The sound has the healthy immediacy of a good FM broadcast with minimal compression. Barbara Dobretsberger's concise notes are helpful and objective. All the artists play sympathetically but Gelius is usually centre-stage and the sense she conveys of defined spontaneity serves Clara Schumann (and the listener) very well indeed.

Rob Barnett

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