Mitsuko Uchida

Schumann: Fantasie; Davidsbündlertänze

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Mitsuko Uchida applies her nuanced touch and colorful phrasing to two of Schumann's greatest piano works: Davidsbündlertänze and the Fantasie in C major. The recording is packaged as a small book and includes a second disc with an interview wherein Uchida talks about Schumann's piano writing and these two pieces in particular. While many might skip the interview and settle just for the music -- just as someone might skip the liner notes -- there are things in Uchida's comments that explain and add to her performance, plus are fascinating, to an extent, to pianists. As she points out, the second movement of the Fantasie is technically difficult, and her performance demonstrates this. She is a gifted pianist and interpreter, but aiming to accurately reach the wide leaps in the movement disrupt the flow of the music. The overall heroics of the Fantasie are also not quite suited to Uchida's skills. The fanfare-like opening isn't as stentorian or brash as others' readings, but the quieter, more thoughtful moments are absolutely lovely. Her version has enough drama and energy, but don't expect it to immediately or viscerally grab the listener. The Davidsbündlertänze is more suited to Uchida's talent. The Eusebius dances -- the reflective side of Schumann's personality -- are wonderfully shaded. The Florestan personality comes out with liveliness, but doesn't have to be a complete opposite -- loud or strident -- to Eusebius. She works some of her interpretive dexterity into them while maintaining their animation and vigor. Uchida's is not the über-Romantic vision of Schumann, but she is able to prove just how different his music is from that of Mozart, Schubert, or Beethoven.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
1 1:59
2 1:36
3 1:34
4 0:46
5 2:44
6 2:01
7 4:47
8 0:45
9 1:43
10 1:28
11 2:15
12 0:47
13 3:33
14 2:22
15 2:16
16 1:56
17 4:38
18 2:17
Fantasie in C major, Op. 17
19 12:46
20 7:45
21 12:54

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 29:21
blue highlight denotes track pick