Album: Schumann, Hommage à Bach – Andreas Staier, (Harmonia Mundi)

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The Independent Culture

Andreas Staier's first disc of Schumann is a collaborative triumph.

The 1837 Erard piano he plays is silver-toned, enigmatic, with surprisingly deep reserves of sound. Eight artfully selected fragments from the 1848 'Album für die Jugend' introduce a programme largely inspired by Bach: the "Scherzo, Gigue, Romanze und Fughette", "Sieben Clavierstücke in Fughettenform", "Waldszenen" and "Kinderszenen". Subtly coloured and almost transparent in texture, Staier's playing has gravity, romance and rigour.

Pick of the album: A grave and introverted performance of the 'Figurierter Choral'