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As with Volume Four, Graham Johnson has included some settings by Clara Schumann, both for their own merit and for the light they shed upon her husband's approaches to the same poets. There are four here [listen -- track 13, 0:44 -- 1:25]. Clara's sense of drama is more explicit, less intuitively psychological, but to have included these songs is no mere act of patronage, any more than it was condescending of Robert to have included three of Clara's settings in his Opus 37. Theirs was indeed a marriage of minds.

Another of the elements which will probably render these volumes definitive once the set is completed is that they enable comparison between different settings of the same words, as here with Lotusblume from both Op 25 and Op 33. Yet another is the superb commentaries by Johnson in the sleeve notes which amount (along with Richard Stokes' translations of the song texts) to very important contributions to Schumann scholarship.

The recording is exemplary in its clarity, warmth and ambience.

Copyright © 8 April 2001 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK

 

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