Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy

Brahms: Complete Variations

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Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy is a superb pianist and a superlative Brahms player. While he may not have the final degree of supreme virtuosity needed to play the most excruciatingly difficult pages of the Variations on a Theme of Paganini, those pages have stymied nearly every pianist, and there is no shame in dropping some notes and smudging some lines if the heart and soul and spirit are there. And, in all of Schmitt-Leonardy's performances, the heart and soul and spirit are right there, inhabiting the vigorous but melancholy world of Brahms. Of course. Schmitt-Leonardy's mind is there, too: the intellectual power of his Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel is dazzling. But the essence of Schmitt-Leonardy's performances, like the core of Brahms' music, is in the chiaroscuro, in the shades between light and shadow and the distance between joy and sorrow. Schmitt-Leonardy's Variations on a Hungarian Theme and especially his Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann find Brahms' heart and soul and spirit in the alternations of fast and slow, in the tones between major and minor, in the space between the here and now, the there and then, and there yet to come. There have been many recordings of Brahms' piano music over the years and certainly other recordings of the works one should hear, but for anyone who loves heartfelt, soulful, and spiritual Brahms playing, Schmitt-Leonardy's recordings will be deeply appreciated. Brilliant's sound is loud and close but it does not quite live up to its name in clarity.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Variations (28) on a Theme of Paganini, for piano, in A minor, Op. 35
1
0:29 Amazon
2
0:25
3
0:29
4
0:30
5
1:12
6
0:45
7
0:29
8
0:28
9
0:30
10
1:28
11
1:19
12
1:45
13
1:12
14
0:34
15
2:21
16
0:31 Amazon
17
0:54
18
0:41
19
0:37
20
0:58
21
0:26
22
0:24
23
0:22
24
0:37
25
0:56
26
1:03
27
0:30
28
1:22
29
1:08
30
1:40
Variations (25) and Fugue on a Theme of Handel, for piano, in B flat major, Op. 24
31
0:54
32
0:51
33
0:41
34
0:49
35
0:53
36
1:11
37
0:57
38
0:37
39
0:38
40
1:30
41
0:34
42
0:43
43
0:56
44
1:34
45
0:37
46
0:42
47
0:29
48
0:36
49
0:41
50
1:04
51
1:00
52
0:46
53
1:09
54
0:33
55
0:35
56
0:43
57
5:15

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Variations (11) on an Original Theme in D major for piano, Op. 21/1
1
1:23
2
1:23 Amazon
3
0:56
4
1:15
5
1:25
6
1:31
7
0:53
8
1:47
9
1:11 Amazon
10
1:12
11
0:50 Amazon
12
4:14
Variations (13) on a Hungarian song for piano in D major, Op. 21/2
13
0:17
14
0:17
15
0:15
16
0:15
17
0:16
18
0:19 Amazon
19
0:29
20
0:29
21
0:32
22
0:16
23
0:16
24
0:13
25
0:14
26
2:59
Variations on a Theme of Schumann, for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 9
27
1:14
28
1:14
29
0:30
30
1:02
31
0:49
32
0:49
33
0:48
34
1:00
35
1:45
36
0:32
37
2:08
38
0:58
39
0:44
40
0:28
41
1:22
42
1:40
43
1:55
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