A lot has been written about the multifaceted relationship between Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Maria Sournatcheva opens another audio chapter in this story. Together with the pianist Aleksandr Shaikin, this principal oboist from Winterthur explores the musical interrelations waiting for discovery in the chamber music of the three and very particularly in some of their songs. In the process she brings to light so many a veritable surprise.
Robert Schumann’s famous Romances are of course a must. However, it is hardly known at all that three Romances by Clara have been transmitted to us. Originally intended for violin and dedicated to Joseph Joachim, these character pieces prove to be extremely progressive compositions and particularly compelling when rendered by the oboe and piano. The same applies to Robert’s “Adagio and Allegro”; it is just as “swift and fiery” as Schumann prescribed – and here many a horn player will turn pale with envy!
It is perhaps the oboe’s sound so similar to the human voice that makes the interpretations of songs with the oboe so moving. “Stille Tränen,”
“Von ewiger Liebe,” “Verzagen” – the titles referring to quiet tears, eternal love, and despair already indicate that an emotional tour de force awaits us. “Widmung” supplies the name and the conclusion – how fitting for Robert’s wedding present dedicated to his beloved Clara!
The critics showered superlatives on Maria Sournatcheva in their reviews of her debut SACD featuring oboe concertos by Russian composers, which even brought her an ECHO Klassik award. Along with her stupendous virtuosity, it is above all her captivating sound that inspires enthusiasm – a quality that the young ARD prizewinner also puts to superb use in her duo with Aleksandr Shaikin, he too the recipient of numerous prizes.