For the listener with a predilection for Romantic music, the early works of Robert Schumann provide riches of the first order. And for those who enjoy their instrumental music with a dash of programmatic spice, Schumann again fits the bill perfectly. He was the prototypical arch-romantic - a tortured manic-depressive who reveled in portraying personalities (including his own), places, ideas and ideals in his music.
Steinway & Sons releases a digital album featuring two of Schumann's most dramatic compositions.
Composed in 1833-35, Carnaval is an effervescent suite of twenty-one brief pieces which might best be described as musical "snapshots" of guests at a masked ball at Mardi Gras. Now, these are not just any guests! We meet a colorful parade of characters from the old Italian Comedia dell'Arte, including Pierrot the clown, Pantalon and Columbine, and Harlequin. Present also are important musicians of the day - Chopin and Paganini - as well as people from Schumann's life: including ex-girlfriend Ernestine von Fricken (Estrella) and his future wife, Clara Wieck (Chiarina). And of course, there is Schumann himself in his poetic garb (Eusebius) and in his more mercurial, passionate outfit (Florestan). Interspersed are lovely waltzes, promenades, butterflies, avowals of love, and even "dancing notes" which from the musical motto upon which the music of Carvaval is based. The dazzling party concludes with a magnificent thumbing of the nose at old-fashioned musical reactionaries, as young Schumann brings on his League of David (Davdsbündler) to slay the Goliath of Philistinism.
Kreisleriana (1838) is an altogether different work. Conceived and written down in a feverish week's time, it reveals a deeper, more profound side of its creator's nature. Based loosely on E.T.A. Hoffmann's literary character Kreisler -- an eccentric and wild conductor - Schumann here paints a more abstract canvas; the pieces of Kreisleriana are far less specifically picturesque than those of Carnaval. Its eight untitled movements range from the angry outbursts of No. 1 and No. 7, to the impetuousness of No. 5, the most exalted poetry of No. 6, the stark pathos of No. 4, the free lyricism of No. 2 and a ghostly dance-like finale that all but disappears from sight, leaving us to uncomfortably ponder what we have just experienced. Schumann, who was one of music criticism's greatest figures, professed himself pleased with his Opus 16; he wrote to Clara, "My music now seems to me wonderfully complicated - for all its simplicity, so eloquent from the heart." Indeed. Schumann's piano writing is far removed from the glitter and dazzle of Liszt, the Mozartean grace of Mendelssohn, the elegance and sophistication of Chopin. It has a personal quality - a depth and sincerity that is uniquely its own.
-- David Deveau
(This album was originally released on ECO Classics.)
“This is the kind of award-winning classical piano man that’s for the serious classical listener. ...You have to sit down and pay attention because Deveau delights in tackling challenging works and bringing them home from left field without making the trip easy. A talented cat that plays right into the hands of those that really want it real — no matter what the genre”
About the Artist
Pianist David Deveau enjoys a distinguished career internationally, performing in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and Asia. He has appeared as soloist with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops; the San Francisco, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, Houston and Miami symphony orchestras; the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra in France and the Qingdao Symphony in China. He has toured China, Taiwan and Japan, appearing in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tianan, Nagoya and Kyoto. He has performed at the festivals of Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, Caramoor, Seattle, Mainly Mozart (San Diego) and was Artistic Director of the Rockport (MA) Chamber Music Festival from 1995-2017. His first recording for Steinway Siegfried Idyll (2015) was critically acclaimed in the New York Times and Gramophone, and was listed as one of the year’s ten best classical albums by the Boston Globe in 2015. Deveau is on the music faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.