Among Schumann’s inspired late chamber works is a collection of music for more unusual instruments, composed in a concentrated flurry of creativity between 1849 and 1853 and written specifically for particular players, and it is to these exquisite short works that the world-famous Nash Ensemble turns its impeccable collective musicianship.
While Schumann modelled his music specifically to the timbres of the instruments he wrote for—piano, violin, horn, clarinet and oboe—he also arranged these pieces for alternative instruments with an eye to maximizing sales. Here, however, the soloists from The Nash Ensemble present the works in their original scoring in what are bound to be definitive performances—the delicious Fantasiestücke for clarinet, and the fiery and lyrical Märchenbilder, which feature star British viola player Lawrence Power. Other delights include the Adagio and Allegro for horn, a brilliant showpiece, the Violin Sonata No 1, Drei Romanzen for oboe and piano and the Märchenerzählungen for clarinet, viola and piano.
how thoroughly each one of these performers warms to his or her allotted task (perhaps 'role' would be a better word), though it's violinist Marianne Thorsen and pianist Ian Brown in the Sonata who steal the show. It makes a superb finale to a disc that works equally well whether you sample individual pieces or savour it as a whole. BBC *****
affectionate and technically irreproachable performances...The five woodwind and string players of the Nash Ensemble respond ideally to this music - music which surely they have known and loved throughout ther playing lives - and Ian Brown is an ever-sensitive collaborative pianist...Unique and compelling from beginning to end. Gramophone
This is an admirably compilation of consistently fine performances of almost all of Schumann's shorter chamber music for one or two instruments and piano, and as such is most valuable as a collection...The performances throughout...are each beyond criticism. In particularly I admire also the slightly varied balance between the instruments...another fine record from this consistently first-class company. Int. Record Review