Celebrating the bicentenary of Robert Schumann's 1810 birth, this Profil album, entitled Romantic Inspirations, features two-instrument chamber works of Robert and Clara. Robert's extensive writing for viola and piano was atypical for the time, and it is a treat to hear the Märchenbilder and Three Romances performed on the instrument for which they were intended rather than one of the instruments (typically violin or cello) that have since adopted them as their own. Robert's Fantasiestücke and Adagio & Allegro (originally for horn) are performed on the cello here, and Clara's contribution of the Three Romances for violin and piano round out the disc. Students from the Kronberg Academy Masters are the featured soloists. Violinist Soojin Han (who is erroneously listed as a cellist on the album's interior cover), violist Peijun Xu, and cellist Gabriel Adriano Schwabe each already have an impressive list of accolades to their credit. Indeed, each of the three young artists plays with a rock-solid technique, pristine intonation, and precision in both their left and right hands, which is a testament to their education. Still, there's something missing from these performances that would distinguish them from other available examples. Each of the musicians possesses a surprisingly bright, stringent sound that seems in contrast to the album's goal of emphasizing the Romanticism of these works. The artists' interpretations are solid and true to the score, but lack the spontaneity and fluidity that come with maturity.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Three Romances for violin and piano, Op. 22|
|Märchenbilder for viola and piano, Op. 113|
|Three Romances, Op. 94|
|Fantasiestücke (Fantasy Pieces), Op. 73|