Kreisleriana op. 16; Novelettes op. 21 nos. 1 and 8 (Yuri Egorov)



Andrew Porter found Egorov's Schumann “sublime”. For me, this disc teeters towards the proverbial next step. Even if op.16 intends, as the sleeve also tells us, “to show the emotions of a schizoid and tormented soul”, it surely ought to be the music that sounds frenzied, not the pianist. But this performance gets off on the wrong foot, like the opening syncopations. It starts at a speed and volume that seem bent on breaking the record; it soon outdistances Arrau and practically laps Rubinstein. By the next track, the tempo has collapsed exhausted; “nicht zu rasch” is interpreted as hardly able to put one beat in front of the other. But fast or slow there is always time for rallentandos, except perhaps where Schumann prescribes them. Not even his notes are sale. The recurrent triplet figure in op.16 no.5 sounds to me consistently misarticulated; and by some further whim two editions have been conflated, for example by cutting the final G minor chord at the end of that number. None of this is intended to deny or dismiss the vital vigour and novelty of these performances. But as I hear them, they either lack all control or are entirely misconceived. The Novelettesare surely poems, not melodramas; op. 16 expresses the sane Schumann, not the crazed Kreisler.          


The Musical Times, Feb., 1980 (p. 108) © the estate of eric sams