One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
     
  
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term www.musicweb-international.com followed by the search term.
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from


Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Waldszenen, Op. 82 (1848/49) [22:15]
Symphonische Etüden, Op. 13 (1834-37, rev. 1852) [31:56]
Arabeske in C major, Op. 18 (1839) [6:05]
Martin Helmchen (piano)
rec. November 2011, Siemens Villa, Berlin, Germany
SACD DSD Hybrid Multi-channel Stereo
PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 5186 452 [60:52]


 
Berlin-born in 1982, Martin Helmchen has notched up an enviable list of concert performances including Berlin and Vienna concerts. Helmchen is also a passionate recitalist and it is with his partnership with Julia Fischer in a recording of the Franz Schubert complete works for violin and piano on Pentatone Classics that I first came across his playing.
 
The Waldszenen (Forest Scenes) comprises nine short pieces and has similarities in both style and character to the famous set of Kinderszenen (1838). These are not merely light and affectionate as the title might suggest and soloist Helmchen fluidly communicates a broad range of feelings and emotions including a strong sense of determination, drama and mystery. Among other Waldszenen I have long enjoyed the eloquently stimulating playing of Maria João Pires on Deutsche Grammophon 437 538-2 (1994).
 
As the basis for his Symphonische Etüden Schumann used a C sharp minor theme by Baron von Fricken, an amateur musician who was the adopted parent of Schumann’s sweetheart Ernestine von Fricken. On this recording Helmchen has included additional pieces that Schumann had withdrawn from the set prior to publication. Helmchen here blends precision and penetration with subtle shades of colour. The Symphonische Etüden account that I have long admired is that by the masterly expressive Maurizio Pollini on Deutsche Grammophon 445 522-2 (1994).
 
Schumann composed his Arabeske during a time of considerable emotional turmoil. He had been forbidden to see his future wife Clara by her disapproving father and could only communicate with her through letters and music. Helmchen adeptly and crisply negotiates the changing moods with fluency and charm. Of other recordings I am especially fond of the poised DG version by Maria João Pires also on the 1994 Deutsche Grammophon 437 538-2.
 
This Pentatone Classics release is a hybrid SACD which I played on my standard CD player. Recorded in 2011 Helmchen has the benefit of fairly close and crystal-clear sound. Although not my first choice versions Helmchen plays splendidly and is beautifully recorded. I cannot imagine too many lovers of Romantic piano music being disappointed with this fine Schumann recording.
 
Michael Cookson