SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A Minor; Adagio and Allegro; Fantasiestuecke for Piano and Cello; Five Pieces in Folk Style – Jan Vogler, cello/Bruno Canino, piano/Munich Chamber Orchestra/Christoph Poppen – Berlin Classics Edel Kultur

by | Dec 21, 2010 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129; Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70; Fantasiestuecke for Piano and Cello, Op. 73; Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102 – Jan Vogler, cello/Bruno Canino, piano/Munich Chamber Orchestra /Christoph Poppen

Berlin Classics Edel Kultur, 59:37 [Distr. by Allegro] ****:

Recorded in 2000 (Cello Concerto), and 1993-1994 for the remainder of the program, this disc features the gifted young virtuoso Jan Vogler in the major works Schumann conceived for the cello. Vogler invests the 1850 Schumann Concerto with a warm and noble dignity, making of its rather staid repetitions something of a lofty song in three movements. The marvelous instrument Vogler plays, a 1712 Guarnerius, proves largely responsible for the fluently crisp and bright tone we receive, almost in spite of Schumann’s often lugubrious fixation with march rhythms.  Only the brief cello recitative in the final bars of the third movement must suffice for an extended cadenza, but the brisk riffs and exchanges with the Munich woodwinds and tympani ensure a vivid resounding conclusion.

The Schumann Adagio and Allegro (most often for French horn) dates from a fertile period for Schumann in 1849; and as a horn piece, it often serves as a trial or competition entry for aspirants on that instrument. Here, Bruno Canino adds his veteran musicianship to the mix to produce a delightfully intimate and impressive salon piece, in which Vogler can demonstrate his arioso abilities–in the nocturnal Adagio–along with some flying leaps of lithe power in the Allegro.

The 1849 Three Fantasy Pieces, too, tend to receive realization by a clarinet and piano, maybe an oboe and piano. Each a miniature tonepoem or character-piece, they allow Vogler to offer plangent, even luxurious, testimony to his lyric prowess on the cello. He takes the first movement, Zart und mit Awestruck (delicately and expressively) quite broadly, but with undeniable romantic effect. The Lebhaft, leicht proceeds songfully, lightly and quickly, as required. The last section, marked Rasch und mit Feuer, is perhaps less “fiery” than briskly poised, with Canino’s fluid runs, rolling arpeggios, and step-wise scales supporting some piquant syncopated riffs from Vogler.

The Five Pieces in Folk Style first came our attention through the efforts of Casals and Rostropovich, respectively.  These brief works likewise date from 1849 but sport a high opus number by their having been published in 1851. The witty first of the set sounds Slavonic, almost a send-up of a piece by Smetana. A lovely song comprises the Langsam movement, one of those Schumann lullabies or quasi-laendler that combine dreams and fairy-tales. A “talking” piece, No. 3 moves in the manner of slow ballad, the model of a song we have in Schubert. Vogler plays double stops in high register to effect a plaintive sentiment, the piano arpeggios and staccati quite dramatic. No.  4, the briefest, is marked Nicht zu rasch but engages our militant senses in four-square rhythm. Its counter-theme calls upon the romantic Schumann we know from the Piano Concerto. The last of the set calls for strength and definition, and it has our principals swaggering and singing alternately.

— Gary Lemco

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