Robert Schumann - Album for the Young Op.68

Many of Schumann's piano works are staples of the repertoire and are found in the programmes of the greatest pianists, but rarely is Album for the Young performed or recorded by first-rate musicians. This recording readdresses this disparity and reveals the character and qualities of these charming compositions. Schumann was most at ease, most personal and innovative, in his works for piano. In his symphonies and chamber works, his writing is more conservative and reverential towards the Classical tradition, but in his piano works he created his very own forms, content and manner of expression. These works reflect his character, temperament and creative imagination most strongly and vividly. Pianist and conductor Vladimir Feltsman is one of the most versatile and constantly interesting musicians of our time. His vast repertoire encompasses music from the Baroque to 20th-century composers. A regular guest soloist with leading symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad, he appears in the most prestigious concert series and music festivals all over the world.
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"For Feltsman, Schumann is at the very heart of the matter...Nimbus's presentation is exemplary." Gramophone, September 2015

"Schumann didn’t write down to his students rather he gave them so many fine tunes and ideas that he could easily have used elsewhere. This is music for children but, nevertheless, full of fine ideas revealed here wonderfully by Vladimir Feltsman. He brings an understated authority to these pieces and is well recorded at Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK. There are excellent booklet notes by Vladimir Feltsman."

"Feltsman is known for his muscular recordings of Baroque and romantic repertoire. But to play these simpler works requires a different kind of aptitude. Here he proves his interpretive range; his playing is crisp, clean, and sensible, even drawing out subtle contrasts. ‘Folk Song’ is delicate and shimmering; the upper lines of the melody are pristine. The familiar ‘Happy Farmer’ has rich and warm tones.
Though these are ostensibly “children’s” pieces, there is a depth to his playing that makes them sound haunting: listen to ‘Chorale’ or ‘First Loss’. The stumbling harmonies and somewhat awkward melodic shapes in ‘First Loss’ pictures a sadness that can’t quite be expressed or accommodated. Childhood is transient, after all." American Record Guide

“This is in many ways an easy recording to review as everything about it - presentation, sound and artistry - is pleasing. Vladimir Feltsman has already displayed the mastery and versatility of his art in a series of first rate recordings for Nimbus; now this issue may take its place in his discography as a highly desirable modern version of music not especially richly represented in the catalogue. The Album for the Young is a collection of 43 short piano pieces originally written by Schumann for his three daughters as a result of his dissatisfaction with the practice material then available. They are much more than technical exercises, being exquisite little portraits which may be played for pleasure by children and adults alike; A delightful recital from one of the best pianists active today.” Ralph Moore,

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