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DiscographyYaara Tal & Andreas GroethuysenPiano-Duo Yaara Tal & Andreas GroethuysenPiano-Duo Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen

Love? Homage to Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

Yaara and friends

Julian Prégardien
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Yuval Weinberg

Release: August 9,2019
Label: Sony Classical

JULIE VON WEBENAU (née/geb. Baroni-Cavalcabò) (1813–1887)
L’Adieu et le Retour op. 25. Morceaux de Fantaisie
Dedicated to Robert Schumann 1839

1 L’Adieu. Moderato
2 Le Retour. Allegretto

world premiere recording


CLARA WIECK-SCHUMANN (1819–1896)
Trois Romances op. 11
Dedicated to Robert Schumann 1838/39

3 Romance No. 1 Andante
4 Romance No. 3 Moderato
5 Romance No. 2 Andante


THEODOR KIRCHNER (1823–1903)
Three Preludes from Op. 9
Dedicated to Clara Schumann 1859

6 Prelude No. 10 Cantabile
7 Prelude No. 11 Allegro brillante
8 Prelude No. 13 Allegro con passione

Yaara Tal, piano


JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, for piano 4 hands, Op. 23 Dedicated to Julie Schumann (1845–1872) 1861

9-19 Variationen I-X

Piano duo Yaara Tal & Andreas Groethuysen

 

JOHANNES BRAHMS

20 Rhapsodie op. 53

for alto, male choir and orchestra
in arrangement for tenor, female choir and piano
on the occasion of Julie Schumann’s wedding 1869


world premiere recording

Yaara Tal, piano
Julian Prégardien, tenor
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Yuval Weinberg, preparation and direction

Total playing time: 57:57
Recording date: October 12, 2018
April 8–10, 2019
Recorded at: Studio 1 & 2 des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Recording producer: Jörg Moser
Executive Producer: Falk Häfner (BR) / Michael Brüggemann (Sony Music)
Sound Engineer: Jochen Fornell


“Frau Webenau loves me”

This note in Schumann’s diary from his time in Vienna is more than enough to set one thinking. Even more startlingly, the entry goes on: “Yesterday there was the biggest outburst yet from Ms. Webenau”. Julie von Webenau was born Julie Baroni-Cavalcabò and was herself a pianist and a composer as well as being the dedicatee of Schumann’s large-scale Humoreske op. 20. But it was the discovery of a piece in her work-list which, dedicated to Schumann, bears the title L’Adieu et le Retour that really roused my curiosity. Where was Clara Wieck at that time as Schumann’s muse and artistic companion? The answer is: Not far away! In 1838/39 Clara Wieck dedicated her Trois Romances op. 11 to Schumann, with whom she was secretly engaged. She could not be ignored either literally or compositionally. It would be interesting to know if there was anyone else with whom Clara had to share her Robert. But we could also ask the opposite question, a question that might well throw an illuminating light on the creative eroticism of this unique couple. Ultimately, we might also have to include under this heading the Preludes that Theodor Kirchner dedicated to Clara.

The relations between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, conversely, have always been a topic that has fired our imagination. It was a relationship characterized by deep mutual respect and admiration. Less well known are the feelings of love that Brahms harboured for Julie Schumann, Clara’s and Robert’s third child. Julie was sixteen when Brahms dedicated his Variations for piano four hands to her, a set of variations on a theme by her late father. When she married six years later, he wrote a kind of epithalamium for her in the form of his Alto Rhapsody op. 53.

This revelation left me dumbfounded. How could this dirge-like song be a wedding present? After all, this music to a fragmentary text from Goethe’s “Harzreise im Winter” could hardly be more sombre. And why set it for an alto soloist and male-voice choir? Why was a male singer not entrusted with this vision of snowbound bleakness? Should it not be performed by women rather than by men as the former resemble angels that descend from above, bringing warmth, protection and comfort? The version heard here is intended as an answer to these questions. Of course, Brahms’s music does not need correcting, but why should it not be possible to perform the piece differently for once?

I am extremely grateful to the Chorus of Bavarian Radio, to the tenor Julian Prégardien and to the conductor Yuval Weinberg for their willingness to undertake this experiment. I should also like to thank Lukas-Fabian Moser and David Zell for their care in preparing the parts for this performing edition.

I owe an additional debt of gratitude to two musicologists for their support over a period of many years: to Dr Karsten Nottelmann for his help with Julie von Webenau and to Dr Michael Struck of the Brahms Complete Edition.

Yaara Tal, Munich, 2019


CD-reviews

LOVE?

"Disco delicioso e imprescindible para conocer nuevo repertorio, espléndidamente tocado por los pianistas Yaara Tal y Andreas Groethuysen, expertos en el romanticismo pianístico alemán (en especial a 4 manos, no en vano han formado dúo mucho tiempo) y con la notable intervención de la sección femenina (sopranos y contraltos) del prestigioso Coro de la Radio de Baviera. Excelente grabación. Muy disfrutable.“

Stavanger Aftenblad

"Et eksperiment som klinger godt og her blir tolket forbilledlig.“

PolskieRadio

Gramophone

"I wish more record labels would countenance mixed programmes such as this.“ Jeremy Nicolas