SCHUMANN Romances (Céline Moinet)
Céline Moinet and Florian Uhlig’s Schumann album places the Op 94 Romances for oboe and piano alongside a sequence of arrangements and transcriptions for the same pairing, many uncredited in the accompanying booklet notes, though some are identified as dating from the 19th century: the Kinderszenen extracts are the work of the oboist and composer Emilius Lund, who famously promoted Op 94 in his concert repertory in the 1860s; ‘Abendlied’ derives from an anonymous arrangement published in 1870. Schumann, however, sanctioned a version of Op 94 for violin, a process that Moinet and Uhlig effectively reverse for both Clara’s Op 22 Romances, written for Joseph Joachim, and the central movements of Robert’s Fünf Stücke im Volkston, where Moinet plays an arrangement of the violin alternative that Schumann provided for the original cello part. The Pedal Piano Studies, meanwhile, come in Theodor Kirchner’s 1888 piano trio version, in which Moinet again takes over the violin line. As with clarinettist Patrick Messina’s comparably programmed Schumann disc (Aparté, 8/17), you can’t quite escape a sense of appropriation in places, though you may find that the quality of the performances outweighs any qualms.
This is an appealing partnership, with Uhlig’s lucidity and refinement both supporting and offsetting Moinet’s ravishing tone and expressive sensitivity throughout. There’s wit as well as elegance in the Stücke im Volkston, while an undertow of passion lurks beneath Clara’s Op 22, where the long-breathed oboe lines unfold with almost operatic eloquence, and Uhlig really comes into his own in the surging figurations in the last movement. Cellist Norbert Anger joins them for the Pedal Piano Studies, where the counterpoint is admirably clear and there’s a real sense of give and take between the three players. Lund’s Kinderszenen extracts add nothing to the original, though Moinet’s dreamy lyricism in ‘Traümerei’ is, in itself, persuasive. The disc’s raison d’être, however, remains the Op 94 Romances – an exquisite performance, understated, subtle and quite wonderfully refined. Some may prefer the greater intensity and deeper introversion of Heinz Holliger and Alfred Brendel here (Decca Eloquence, 3/81) but this is a most beautiful interpretation nevertheless.