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Schumann: Complete Music For Piano 4-Hands

Schumann: Complete Music For Piano 4-Hands

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Robert Schumann always enjoyed playing piano four-hands, even after the injury to his right hand curtailed any hope of a professional career. Playing this way was in any case associated with domestic pleasure rather than concert-giving, though plenty of composers in the early-Romantic era began to supply music for a hungry market of dedicated amateur musicians, Schumann included. His first work in the genre was a set of eight Polonaises written in 1828 and very much modelled on the example of Schubert, who died later the same year. These are outgoing works of tremendous charm and lively character, designed for enjoyment on the part of the musicians at least as much as the listener. Curiously Schumann did not return to the genre in the full flower of his career. The next four-hands work dates from 20 years later, a set of six Bilder aus osten (Pictures from the East) which he wrote as a Christmas present for his wife Clara in 1848. In these impromptus, vigorous and meditative moods alternate before culminating in No.6, where the two coexist. There followed the following year a set of 12 pieces Op.85 'for small and big children'. The published preface went some way towards explaining this lacuna in Schumann's output: 'Over the past 20 years there has been increasing awareness of the lack of short and substantial works originally composed for piano 4-hands. This most recent work by our brilliant Schumann will thus prove to be doubly welcome.' And so it has been with piano students ever since, from the joyous processional of the opening birthday march to the playful Dance of Bears, sprightly Round Dance and tender slow numbers such as the concluding Evening Song. Schumann's remaining music for piano four-hands shared this purpose of teaching and delighting children, as well as their teachers and parents: the Ball-Szenen and Kinder-Ball sets of miniatures both dating from 1853.
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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 2
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421956756
    • Item Number: BRI95675