this work. Tetzlaff’s own understanding of Bach is a significant factor (just recall that glorious set of the Sonatas and Partitas he recorded a few years back – Hänssler, 8/07) and the first variation, now bowed, with a trickling piano accompaniment, has you holding your breath with wonder at the delicacy and apparent simplicity of it all. In the Allegretto middle movement of the First Sonata, the players superbly convey the fragility of the writing, the fleeting hints of happiness all too easily overcome by a doleful sadness.
But it’s not just in the more delicate moments that these players impress so much. The effect of the opening of the first movement of No 1 is of a spontaneously wrought nervosity but listen a little more closely and you become aware of the myriad colours and subtle phrasing at play here. And in the Second Sonata, the reiterated rhythms of the second movement are high-octane but they also have a sense of yearning, as if reaching out for something not quite graspable.
This, quite simply, wipes the floor with the competition. If you have the slightest interest in Schumann’s chamber music, add it to your shelves.
RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR
January Editor’s Choices
J ANDERSON Orchestral Works LPO / Vladimir Jurowski, Ryan Wigglesworth LPO M LPO0074 ‘Neither effete nor vulgar, this might just be the new music you’ve been waiting for, its wow-factor surface fluency only part of the story.’
GRIEG. PROKOFIEV Piano Concertos Nikolai Lugansky pf DSO Berlin / Kent Nagano Ambroisie F AM210 ‘In the Prokofiev, Lugansky is on home ground and his performance blazes with conviction, a propulsion and energy complemented with an innate sense of poetry.’
PROKOFIEV. STRAVINSKY Violin Concertos Patricia Kopatchinskaja vn LPO / Jurowski Naïve F V5352 ‘Kopatchinskaja makes use of a remarkable range of bow strokes and tonal colourings to give each episode its own vivid identity.’
SAINT-SAËNS Concertos Renaud Capuçon vn Gautier Capuçon vc Radio France PO / Lionel Bringuier Erato F 934134-2 ‘An intimate dialogic quality comes through in Renaud and Gautier Capuçon’s beautifully modulated playing.’
‘THE LARK ASCENDING’ Tasmin Little vn BBC PO / Sir Andrew Davis Chandos F CHAN10796 ‘Tasmin Little, an acknowledged standardbearer for, and specialist in, British music, gives us a feast of works for violin and orchestra.’
‘SONNERIE & OTHER PORTRAITS’ Fantasticus Resonus M D RES10122 ‘The performances of Fantasticus are confident, stylish, beautifully articulated and convey a sense of genuine rapport – a most delightful recital of early-18th-century French Baroque chamber music.’
B E R T A Z Z
I O R G
P H O T O G R A P H Y
Christian Tetzlaff records Schumann in Bremen
MIKHAIL PLETNEV ‘Pletnev in Person’ Mikhail Pletnev pf Onyx M ONYX4110 ‘Mikhail Pletnev continually searches for what he senses has not been set down, offering the kind of musicianship that makes the odd foible irrelevant, even meaningless.’
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‘BACH INSPIRATIONS’ Hannes Minnaar pf Cobra F COBRA0038 ‘The recorded piano sound is a real pleasure to hear; the programme is artfully conceived; and lastly, every single performance by this 28-year-old Dutch pianist is out of the top drawer.’
VERDI Simon Boccanegra Sols; Vienna SO / Massimo Zanetti Decca F b 478 5354DHO2 ‘This new set has Thomas Hampson and Joseph Calleja in performances that don’t just measure up to the recorded history but shine different kinds of light on the opera.’
GRAMOPHONE RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2014 5