Scenes and Fantasies
(Challenge Classics, 2018, Catalogue no. CC 72776)
Release date Europe: May,18th, 2018
Schumann and Brahms were the two titans of German piano music in the Romantic era. Both shared a veneration for their great Baroque and Classical forebears, but whereas Brahms’s piano works adhered closely to those traditions, Schumann’s spontaneous personal expression and formal innovations extended the boundaries of musical form, particularly in the genre of the miniature which he elevated to unprecedented expressive heights. Schumann’s unbounded creative imagination, allied to great lyrical gifts, produced music that was the embodiment of Romantic expression.
The three works on this CD span a period of fifteen years, years in which the young Schumann suffered forcible separation from his beloved Clara, followed by their marriage and a brief period of relative calm, to the increasing bouts of mental instability which were to close him off from the world around him until his death. Throughout, his music was intimately connected to the events, emotions and stimuli in his life: ‘Everything in the world has an effect on me… I have discovered that there is no more powerful stimulus toimagination than tension and longing for something…’