Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 - download (MP3 & FLAC)

This page lists all recordings of Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, by Robert Schumann (1810-56) on download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first.

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Schumann: Complete Symphonic Works Vol. IV

Schumann: Complete Symphonic Works Vol. IV


Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Denes Varjon (piano)

Violin Concerto

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin)


WDR Sinfonieorchester, Heinz Holliger

This fourth volume of the complete orchestral works by Robert Schumann presents both his most underestimated and his most famous concertos. Patricia Kopatchinskaja takes the experimental qualities of the Violin Concerto, a late work, as a guiding principle, rising above clichéd Romanticist tradition in a typically distinctive, energetic interpretation. This 'de-Romanticised' reading clearly distinguishes Schumann’s Violin Concerto from the glittering Romantic concertos of the time, contrasting brilliant, attention-seeking virtuosity with musical mastery at the service of an overall concept. In the Piano Concerto, Dénes Várjon also expresses a particular Romantic clarity, characterised by fresh sounds and fluid tempi. He trusts in the impact of the work standing on its own by opting for an approach that is not overly Romanticist. His stringent interpretation is informed by many years of performing Schumann, including his chamber works.

Denes Varjon has a track record with Schumann recordings: his CD of the Sonatas of Robert Schumann recorded with Carolin Widmann was released in 2008. His recording of Schumann pieces with the cellist Steven Isserlis was released in 2009 on the Hyperion label. His solo CD with pieces of Berg, Janácek and Liszt was released in January 2012 by ECM, with whom he has also recorded works by Heinz Holliger, who requested Varjon for this Audite project.

“Kopatchinskaja is typically bold and provocative in Schumann’s Violin Concerto…where it works really well is in the slow movement, Kopatchinskaja exposing the fragility of Schumann’s writing with heart-rending sensitivity…Dénes Várjon emphasises [the Piano Concerto’s] playfulness and lightness of touch, especially in the slow movement and Finale.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2016 ****

“Kopatchinskaja’s sound is uncompromising here; stark and straight, her strength matched by the ensemble, no-one’s trying make this into a prettier concerto than it seems, and to my ears, it gains from that approach … you come out of this recording with renewed respect for Schumann’s originality and for Holliger’s determination not to add too much sugar in his Schumann series for Audite” CD Review, 27th February 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Audite Schumann Complete Symphonic Works - AUDITE97717

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Lucerne Festival Historic Performances Vol. VIII

Lucerne Festival Historic Performances Vol. VIII

Piano Concertos by Schumann and Beethoven


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19

Lucerne, Kunsthaus, 29/8/1962

Leon Fleisher (piano)

Swiss Festival Orchestra, George Szell

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Lucerne, Kunsthaus, 3/9/1960

Annie Fischer (piano)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini


The eighth disc in the series Lucerne Festival Historic Performances is dedicated to two piano icons: in 1960 and 1962, with two years between them, Hungarian-born Annie Fischer and the American Leon Fleisher made their debuts at Lucerne Festival. Released here for the first time in their entirety, these live recordings document them at the peak of their art.

Sviatoslav Richter called her a “brilliant musician”, accrediting her with “great breath and true depth”. András Schiff acknowledged: “I have never heard more poetic playing in my life.” Annie Fischer, born in Budapest in 1914, gave public performances even as a child, winning the International Liszt Competition in 1930 and after that, except during the war, touring worldwide. Nonetheless, she tends to be rated as an insider’s tip, not least because she left behind only a handful of studio recordings. That makes live recordings such as this, released for the first time, all the more precious: at her only performance in Lucerne in summer 1960, Annie Fischer realised a sensitive, chamber-like and exceptionally poetic reading of the Schumann Piano Concerto with which she “garnered unusually fervent success”, according to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. She found congenial musical partners in Carlo Maria Giulini and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Leon Fleisher made his Lucerne debut in 1962 at the age of 34: on the peak of his rapid career which had – as had been the case with Annie Fischer – catapulted him into musical life while he was still a child. However, only a few months after his Lucerne performance – released for the first time in its entirety – he developed focal dystonia, making the use of his right hand impossible. During the following decades, Fleisher became a specialist of the left-handed repertoire until, in his old age, he was once again able to play with both hands, thanks to new medical treatments. In Lucerne, he presented himself with one of his party pieces – Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto, which he played with an elegant and transparent tone. The Swiss Festival Orchestra was conducted by George Szell, with whom he had made a studio recording of the concerto one year previously – an interesting comparison. The second half of this concert, Brahms’ First Symphony, is already available in this series of Lucerne Festival Historic Performances and has been awarded the Diapason d’Or as well as a nomination for the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

The 32-page booklet in three languages provides extensive background information on Annie Fischer and Leon Fleisher, and also features photos from the festival archives of all artists involved, published here for the very first time.

“Forceful, cleanly articulated and with a poetically charged Intermezzo, it’s a performance that shows Fischer to have been a notably strong, intellectual player.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2016

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Schumann: Piano Concerto & Piano Trio No. 2

Schumann: Piano Concerto & Piano Trio No. 2


Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

DVD

Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado

Piano Trio No. 2 in F major, Op. 80

with Isabelle Faust (violin) & Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)


Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano)

Schumann: Violin Concerto (with Isabelle Faust) and Piano Trio No. 3 available here.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

This second volume of the complete recording of the concertos and trios of Schumann shows just how badly we needed an interpretation that respects the subtleties and the transparency of Schumann’s writing. Here is a different stylistic approach to one of the finest concertos in the repertoire, which will undoubtedly open the way to the rediscovery of music as poetic as it is moving. The final installment will be of the Cello Concerto and Piano Trio No. 1 with Jean-Guihen Queyras.

"The idea for this CD project arose during a tour on which we performed Robert Schumann’s Trio Op.80. As passionate admirers of the composer, we conceived the desire to place his works for piano, violin and cello in a broader context and to illuminate them mutually in order to allow listeners to gain a deeper understanding of his music. We soon agreed to play the pieces for this recording on a historical piano and stringed instruments with gut strings, using orchestral forces to match. Thanks to this, we expected our playing to be better balanced, better articulated, and more open-minded. Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester sprang spontaneously to mind as the ideal partners for a project of this kind. And indeed they took up our idea enthusiastically and were keen and irreplaceable fellow-conspirators in the world of Schumann. Our shared journey into the magical world of this incomparable composer will remain with us as an exceptionally intense, happy and fulfilling experience." Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Jean-Guihen Queyras

DVD: The Piano Concerto filmed at Berliner Philharmonie

“Melnikov is a steely player with plenty of ideas and charisma, but even in the finessed company of the Freiburg Baroque and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, his bracing account of the Piano Concerto is hard to love... All affectations evaporate in the Trio, though, where Faust’s sound is so silvery and expressive, so simultaneously commanding and questioning, that she risks blowing the rest of the disc out of the water.” The Guardian, 30th July 2015 ***

“The 1837 Erard that Melnikov uses, plus the period-instrument Freiburg band, brings a new and revealing clarity to Schumann’s concerto, underlining the fantasy element in the marvellous opening movement...The performance of the rarely heard F major trio is first-rate.” Sunday Times, 9th August 2015

“Melnikov’s decision to use the fortepiano allows him to take the work out of Grieg’s shadow, letting it emerge as Schumann originally conceived it. That’s not to say that his performance lacks power – far from it...but it’s power wielded within historically-accurate boundaries, and it doesn’t upset the balance that is key to Schumann’s newly-reinvented vision of the concerto.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 7th August 2015

“Melnikov’s performance of possibly the best-loved of the concertos takes one by the scruff of the neck and gives a good shake – there is nothing nostalgic about his reading...The sound worlds are so different, and yet the calibre of performance is maintained. It is impossible [for me] to fault a splendid achievement.” Early Music Review, 3rd August 2015

“it’s only a matter of seconds after the initial shock of Alexander Melnikov’s unsentimentally triumphant opening piano flourish...before the buoyant energy and translucence of his interpretation, and the equally vivid presence of the Freiburger Barockorchester under Pablo Heras-Casado, make their gripping mark on music you thought you knew well. It is tasteful, exuberant and revelatory.” The Scotsman, 9th August 2015

“Melnikov is able to ripple along as part of an ensemble when providing accompaniment to orchestral lines, rather than dominating as a Steinway might, although the instrument can still roar when called upon to do so…repeated listening has persuaded me that this is a valid alternative to the glittering virtuosity displayed by pianists from Lipatti to Andsnes and beyond.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

“What is especially striking in this charismatic and illuminating interpretation is Alexander Melnikov's capacity to muster such a wide dynamic range and varied palette of timbres from his 1837 Érard fortepiano…if anything the Piano Trio No. 2 is even more compelling. Again, the use of an early 19th-century fortepiano, here a Streicher of 1847, brings textual clarity, enhanced by the exceptionally subtle and sensitive dialogue between the two superb string players.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

“[Melnikov] uses both instruments’ lean tonal profiles to provide balances and colours that are still rare in this repertoire. Some of his personal touches in the concerto, especially the leisurely tempo for the finale, seem bound to divide opinion. On the other hand, in the trio there’s an uncluttered openness, a spaciousness that’s got nothing to do with speed and a clarity, that places everything in perfect perspective.” The Irish Times, 4th September 2015

“the orchestra are the immaculate Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, whose playing embodies the words “light and lucid”...Melnikov play[s] a superb version of the Piano Concerto which rather redefines, on his 1837 Erard piano and in the measured tempo of his finale, just how to get round Schumann’s treacherous, mercurial minefield without loss of momentum. This is super-articulate, sparkling and revelatory, with a blistering performance of the Second Piano Trio.” Herald Scotland, 20th September 2015

“[Melnikov] plays an 1837 Erard, its marvellously full tone suiting the music admirably as well as the period instruments of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, sensitively marshalled by Pablo Heras-Casado … there is plenty of life in the playing... Their mutual understanding is audible throughout: top-quality chamber playing in a reference recording.” International Piano, November-December 2015

“There is no shortage of recordings of the popular Schumann Piano Concerto, but this period instrument version is notable for its textural transparency and for Alexander Melnikov’s deeply expressive playing on fortepiano.” New York Times, 11th December 2015

“a finely judged interpretation, as much heart as head, with little to suggest ‘authentic’ didacticism, and the leisurely tempo for the finale is entirely convincing, with time for detail and shape. In the Second Piano Trio, Melnikov (now presiding on an 1847 Streicher), Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras display admirable teamwork in a lean yet meaningful account of concisely composed yet copious chamber music that is bountiful in ardour and poetry.” Classical Ear

Presto Disc of the Week

7th August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2015

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902198

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Schumann: Kinderszenen & Piano Concerto

Schumann: Kinderszenen & Piano Concerto


Schumann:

Kinderszenen, Op. 15

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder


Martin Stadtfeld (piano)

Sony - 88875057912

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Mendelssohn & Schumann

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Mendelssohn & Schumann


Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'

Hebrides Overture, Op. 26

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Maria João Pires (piano)


LSO Live presents the first in a series exploring the complete symphonies of Felix Mendelssohn under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Also featured on this release is the eminent Portuguese pianist, Maria João Pires, in the inaugural concerto recording on the label.

Inspired by his travels to the British Isles and full of the influence of the rolling Scottish landscape, both Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Scottish’ and his Hebrides Overture (‘Fingal’s Cave’) are amongst the composer’s most popular and celebrated works.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner writes of this coupling: "Even if they spoke with different accents these genial Romantics were united in their ambitious fervour for ‘abstract’ music to be acknowledged as having the same expressive force as poetry, drama or the literary novel. The three works on this album exemplify the endeavour and range of invention of two of them, friends and colleagues in Leipzig."

This recording will be released in both SACD and pure audio Blu-ray formats, allowing both the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Eliot’s performance to be seen and heard to full effect.

DSD recording, live at the Barbican, 21st January 2014

Video/ audio 2.0 Stereo and multi-channel (5.0)

Audio + bonus video material/digital (Blu-ray video of the entire concert plus Pires's encore).

Concert Reviews:

"This was the London Symphony Orchestra; but, with violins and violas standing and with a new suppleness and brilliance in their voice, they sounded Romantic and revolutionary. There was a brisk stepping-out, a bracing scent of the tangle o’ the isles, and tiny, drawn-back moments to glimpse the Romantic sublime." The Times****

"The opening of the Intermezzo was supremely graceful with Pires and the LSO’s cellos creating a chamber music intimacy in the ensuing dialogue. The cultivated way in which Pires and the LSO took up and finished phrases was masterful. The finale was a whirling dance with Pires really revving up the momentum while at the same time bringing out the fanciful elements in the score. The coda was played with gusto, bringing the piece to a sparkling conclusion." Seen and Heard

“As you would expect from the LSO brass section, the trumpets soar and blaze when appropriate, but it’s really the woodwind who excel [in The Hebrides]...Pires seems to focus on lyricism over drama, and that’s no bad thing [in the concerto]...It’s in [the Scottish] symphony that Gardiner’s credentials as a proponent of so-called historically-informed performance are most evident” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 20th October 2014

“a reading formed by life experience…Pires is supported by conductor and orchestra magnificently...I’ve never heard so much of the orchestral colour and detail in any other Schumann recording … My anticipation that this might be a special recording has been met.” MusicWeb International, 30th October 2014

“one of the finest performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto that I have ever heard...[Pires's] performance is as pristine and common-sensical as it is soulful and beguilingly expressive. The whole thing is absolutely wonderful, and an education.” Herald Scotland, 9th November 2014

“Gardiner's Hebrides Overture must be one of the most thrilling ever recorded, adding volleys of sea-spray to well-navigated execution...Ebb and flow is of the essence in this proto-Wagnerian masterpiece and a subtle use of vibrato...Gardiner makes a beeline for individual instrumental details, keeping important woodwind lines to the fore.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

“this ‘Scottish’ symphony is fresh, vital and even thrilling (a word that doesn’t always come up in discussions of Mendelssohn) as any I’ve ever heard…at its best it is so good that it can be recommended without hesitation.” International Record Review, January 2015

“[Pires] has the enviable ability to make everything sound fresh but natural, and her tone is enchanting...The definition on [the Blu-ray] is superb and the camera work actually helps the viewer understand the music.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ***/*****

Presto Disc of the Week

20th October 2014

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Finalist

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Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2015

LSO Live - LSO0765

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Grieg & Schumann: Piano Concertos

Grieg & Schumann: Piano Concertos


Grieg:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54


Warner Classics National Gallery Collection - 7051192

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Romantic Piano Concertos

Romantic Piano Concertos


Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner

Tchaikovsky:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

RCA Symphony Orchestra, Kyrill Kondrashin


Van Cliburn (piano)

Van Cliburn's extraordinary rise to fame in the late fifties was in no small part due to his performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto featured on this disc. This Regis release is a valuable document of the birth of a pianistic legend. The Schumann coupling shows a more introspective side to his musicianship.

Regis - RRC1391

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Schumann & Mozart: Sophie Pacini

Schumann & Mozart: Sophie Pacini


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K271 "Jeunehomme"

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54


Sophie Pacini (piano)

Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Radoslaw Szulc

In 2011 Pacini won the Prix Marguerite Dütschler of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad. Born in Munich in 1991, her father an Italian professor of literature and her mother a German physician, Sophie Pacini began to play the piano comparatively late, at the age of six. However, her outstanding talent was recognised quickly: she made her debut with Haydn’s D major Piano Concerto in 2000. In 2002, aged 11, she became a student of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 2004 she was admitted to the Mozarteum’s institute for highly talented musicians, where she studied not only the piano but also improvisation, aural theory, harmonics, composition and conducting. Since 2007 she has been studying in Pavel Gililov’s master class.

In 2010 Pacini auditioned for Martha Argerich and, after the Liszt Sonata, Argerich approached her, kissed her on the cheek and said: ‘You are very good. Do you know that?’ Since then their friendship has grown. Argerich recommended Sophie to Fou T’song and invited her to take part in the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. They arrange to meet whenever possible. Martha Argerich and Sophie Pacini worked together on the preparation for this, her debut recording of an Argerich favourite – the Schumann concerto, and also on Mozart’s first great piano concerto, known as ‘Jeunehomme’. Named after a French keyboard player who was in Salzburg over the winter of 1776–7, nothing is known of her today, except that the 21-year-old Mozart wrote this remarkable concerto for her.

“Pacini (b1991) is a protegee of Martha Argerich and it shows...There's a similar air of in-the-moment rhapsodising and no fear of giving the performance a boot up the backside if she catches her accompanists napping...Pacini clearly has something to say in this music and the technique to do so. What is lacking, perhaps, is ability to take the long view and tie up all the works' episodes into a unified whole.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

“This debut reveals a sympathetic tone and an independent spirit which particularly suit the Schumann. Tempos are well-judged, with room for Pacini to explore the work's lyrical meditations. Certain issues between pianist and orchestra could have worked better...But Pacini is promising indeed, and one to watch for the future.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 ***

Onyx - ONYX4088

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Schumann & Grieg: Piano Concertos

Schumann & Grieg: Piano Concertos


Grieg:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54


Sony Classical Masters - 88697721002

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Schumann: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra

Schumann: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra


Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Introduction & Allegro appassionato in G major, Op. 92

Introduction and Allegro Op. 134


Sony - SK64577

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$9.25

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