Waltz in Ab major Opus 34 No.1 Frederic Chopin Download 'Waltz in Ab major Opus 34 No.1' on iTunes
The fearsome demands of Schumann's piano works hold no fear for the awe-inspiring Philippe Cassard on this essential disc
Repertoire: Piano works
Artists: Philippe Cassard
Label: Ambroisie AMB 9961
On this evidence, Philippe Cassard is nowhere near as big a name as he should be. The world-class level of his performances is unmistakable from the very first moments of the Fantasiestücke, Op.12: an instant impression is made by the sound he conjures from the instrument – mellow, full, rounded, with firepower of the kind that doesn’t bruise the ear, a range of soft shadings to match, and no trace of the clangorous, sharp-edged tone that so many of his colleagues reckon on getting away with. His interpretations have a level of artistry that speaks for itself. Schumann’s torrentially difficult passagework resembles Bach on crack cocaine; yet these fearsome demands cause Cassard no problems whatever, and nor is there any self-congratulatory slickness in his response. His way with the music’s sudden moodswings is unerring and unexaggerated; the simple moments – like the ‘Sleeping Child’ of Kinderszenen – are hauntingly captured. The rarity here is the Humoreske, Op.15 – a situation explained to some extent by the music’s serious difficulty but not by its wonderful range of ideas and the free-flowing way that Schumann assembles them. Cassard reveals the work as a substantial and neglected masterpiece.
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