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October 15 , 2008

Rave reviews for Carolin Widmann’s and Dénes Várjon’s Schumann

The German-Hungarian duo’s recording of the complete violin sonatas by Robert Schumann is meeting with enormous critical interest. Written in the difficult last years of the composer’s life, the demanding works mirror his existential conflicts in a fascinating way. While the first two sonatas are quite frequently heard on the concert platform, the third one was held back by Clara Schumann after her husband’s death and was only published in a reliable edition a few years ago and has rarely been recorded so far.

“This enthralling duo really give lie to the ‘second-rate Schumann’ label“, comments Gramophone magazine: “Whether you know the music well or not, you’ll be delighted.” Eleonore Büning marvels in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “How many colours this violinist is able to convey – there is a kind of vivacity in her (Widmanns) playing, an intensity which makes each phrase speak and imbues it with meaning.” “The romantic extremism of this Schumann makes you sit clinging to your chair” comments the monthly Kulturspiegel.

A similar point is made by Die Zeit by stressing how the two musicians“ shed light upon the emotional abysses of these feverish and great late works“. The Stuttgarter Zeitung speaks of “great music in a superb rendering” and points out that the two musicians strike “exactly the right note of danger and risk in this experimental music: The duo follows Schumann into the dark realms of expression but it also emphasises the inherent humour of these scores.” Praise also from Andrew Clement in The Guardian: “These constantly sharp-witted performances are now among the best available on disc, ranking alongside the versions by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich.”