This new recording by pianist Cordelia Williams (Piano Winner of BBC Young Musician 2006) is a unique combination of three of Schumann’s finest works for the instrument: the Davidsbündlertänze Books I and II, Fantasie and the Geistervariationen.
The Davidsbündlertänze is a set of 18 pieces for solo piano, featuring characters who did not really exist, except in Schumann’s musical imagination. They initially appeared as characters from his unfinished 1831 novel, Davidsbündler (the League of David). The pieces are not true Dances but more musical dialogues about music between Schumann’s characters Florestan and Eusebius. These respectively represent the impetuous and the lyrical, poetic sides of Schumann’s nature. Each piece is ascribed to one or both of them. Schumann’s wife Clara was practically his sole motivation for writing this work, an expression of his passionate love, longings and dreams. It remains one of Schumann’s greatest achievements.
Schumann composed the Fantasie Op. 17 in 1836 and dedicated it to Liszt. It consists of three movements in loose sonata form. The first movement is rhapsodic and passionate followed by a grandiose rondo in the second movement and ending with a slow and meditative third movement. The Geistervariationen lies at the other end of Schumann’s life – it was, in fact, his very last solo piano piece, completed in 1854 just before he was admitted to a mental institution. The ‘Ghost Variations’ are very rarely heard (Schumann said the theme was given to him by an angel) and constitute a hauntingly beautiful work.
“On the evidence of this new recording it’s not hard to understand her success. Her playing has a warmth and finely judged flexibility that are immediately attractive. The spontaneity of the performances as well as the beauty of the piano tone, … linger in the mind… ”
Misha Donat, BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 **** (SOMMCD 0127, Schubert Impromptus)
“Williams’ brilliantly fluid technique and unassuming mastery of the piano is to the fore on this recording, which promises much for the future.”
Classic FM Radio Review (Classic FM Drive Featured Album, 15-19 July 2013).
You can buy her new album via Somm Recordings here!