Light and dark
BASIL RAMSEY listens to lesser-known Schumann
infrequently, 'volume 2' of a series can mean something considerably less
than the first. Schumann, after all, does have his darker moments when music
loses its freshness. This volume of chamber music is mixed but mostly on
the better side, and yet this somewhat neglected music still remains on
the page rather than in the minds of listeners.
The two Trios - A minor 'Fantasiestücke' opus 88, and G minor opus
110 - are tinged with sadness, yet there is also energy and humour. Uppermost
must be the quality of musical thinking which, despite Schumann's increasing
depression at this time, has much of the genuine imprint that endears us
to his music.
Taking movement by movement, with the A minor first: it opens to a gentle
Romance of an agreeable nature, followed by a Humoreske's relentless figure
energising persistent momentum. It is clear-cut and scintillating. The lyrical
charm of the duet between violin and cello in the third movement has a typical
arpeggio background from the piano. Finally, a brisk march-like statement
expands with changing figuration and bouyant mood to a scintillating finale.
Overall, one feels happy to renew acquaintance with a neglected corner of
The later G minor Trio, longer than the other, attracts as a work dredging
deeper for its ideas and development. G minor has an unusually rich quality
that strongly appealed to Mozart. I had not thought of Schumann as well,
yet of these two trios the stronger is this work in G minor. Coincidence?
Copyright © 29 April 2000 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK
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