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Schumann Symphonic Etudes. (Read 7797 times)

Offline argerichfan

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Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
« on: August 10, 2009, 12:23:04 AM »
Wow, I just heard Hamelin's recording. Splendid!  His recording does not incorporate the posthumous etudes, and I feel the work is so much tighter without them.  Schumann's final thoughts were IMO correct. 

Well of course those extra etudes (variations, really) are glorious, but Schumann never made things easy.  For years pianists have tried to find a way to incorporate those extra thoughts, but I've never heard a convincing solution.  Generally I've found that the addition of the extra etudes simply ruin Schumann's architecture, and worse, the piece simply becomes too long to sustain interest.  Kissin's recording is a great example of that.

No win situation, alas.  I played this piece on my final recital as a pianist (without the extra variations) and it still remains for me one of Schumann's most glorious piano works.  Our good mate Thal won't agree, but of course he has not played it, not that it is any concern to him. 

Yet Schumann has his share of 'bombs', the 1st symphony ('Spring') is one of the most utterly tedious and uninteresting pieces of music I've ever heard, the last movement in particular being a total waste.

Funnily, driving in the car this afternoon I heard Schubert's 2nd symphony.  I enjoyed every moment of it, great stuff, far superior to any Schumann symphony.   

 

piano sheet music of Symphonic Etudes


Offline mikey6

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 01:09:07 AM »

Yet Schumann has his share of 'bombs', the 1st symphony ('Spring') is one of the most utterly tedious and uninteresting pieces of music I've ever heard, the last movement in particular being a total waste.

Funnily, driving in the car this afternoon I heard Schubert's 2nd symphony.  I enjoyed every moment of it, great stuff, far superior to any Schumann symphony.   
Which composer didn't have their share of 'bombs'!? Beethoven included!
Schumann's 2nd symphony is glorious!  The slow movt absolutely amazing!  The 3rd symphony had that wonderful Cologne cathedral inspired 4th movt, I think Tovey called it something like the best polyphonic work since Bach and the architecture of the 4th was something completely revolutionary!  I hope you're not knocking them when you haven't even heard them!
Wow, I just heard Hamelin's recording. Splendid!  His recording does not incorporate the posthumous etudes, and I feel the work is so much tighter without them.  Schumann's final thoughts were IMO correct. 

Well of course those extra etudes (variations, really) are glorious, but Schumann never made things easy.  For years pianists have tried to find a way to incorporate those extra thoughts, but I've never heard a convincing solution.  Generally I've found that the addition of the extra etudes simply ruin Schumann's architecture, and worse, the piece simply becomes too long to sustain interest.  Kissin's recording is a great example of that.

No win situation, alas.  I played this piece on my final recital as a pianist (without the extra variations) and it still remains for me one of Schumann's most glorious piano works.  Our good mate Thal won't agree, but of course he has not played it, not that it is any concern to him. 
I actually disagree - I find the piece to be too in your face without the extras.  It's a 1/2 hour of generally loud playing and if you add the extras, at least performer and listener have a break.  (weak excuse as it is, I don't think it's harmful) Have you heard Cortot's recording? He incorporates the extras logically.
I played the etudes last year for my exam and the Fantasie this year - personally, I prefer playing and listening to the Fantasie.  Not to say that the etudes aren't an amazing piece of music, they're just to dam hard! ;) (not meaning the fantasie is easy by any stretch but I'm stuck in a loop here lol)
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Offline argerichfan

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #2 on: August 10, 2009, 03:45:28 AM »
Which composer didn't have their share of 'bombs'!? Beethoven included!
Schumann's 2nd symphony is glorious!  The slow movt absolutely amazing!  The 3rd symphony had that wonderful Cologne cathedral inspired 4th movt, I think Tovey called it something like the best polyphonic work since Bach and the architecture of the 4th was something completely revolutionary!  I hope you're not knocking them when you haven't even heard them!
I was only speaking of the 1st symphony, but all you reference are the other Schumann symphonies, of which I made no comment.  You should read posts more carefully.  Furthermore you make a statement that Cortot 'incorporates the extras logically'.  What do you mean by 'logically'?  I would think only Schumann could answer for that.

I've heard Cortot, but I've also heard Weissenberg, Richter and Kissin.  None of them particularly make a solid case for adding the extra variations.  The result is always a piece that is too defuse and too long.  Was Schumann that much of an idiot to publish it without the extra variations?  You insult him otherwise, and posterity will always wonder what to do with those extra variations... a problem that will never have a satisfactory solution.   

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 11:36:28 AM »
I have never heard this Schubert symphony, as for the Schumann symphonies I have never heard any of them besides no.4 which I love.

How is Weissenberg's recording? it seems like a piece he would do well with, but on the other hand he may not do well with it.
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Offline argerichfan

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #4 on: August 10, 2009, 02:40:18 PM »
I would rate Weissenberg's recording the best I have ever heard- and I've certainly listened to many.  His solution for the posthumous etudes is about as workable as possible, given we have no information from the composer -aside from the indisputable fact that he choose not to include them in the Op. 13.  Hearing Hamelin's recording only confirmed how much tighter the work is without the extra etudes, some of which are disproportionately long. 

Offline iumonito

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #5 on: August 11, 2009, 01:31:12 PM »
I agree very very very very strongly that Schumann's architecture is perfect without the supplement.

I would recommend playing the work without the supplement, then either playing something else or explaining what is to come, play the theme again followed by the supplemental variations.

By the way, the Goldberg variations also has a supplement, and no sane musician would ever consider inserting them radomly within the magnificent architecture of Bach's masterpiece.

Playing the theme again is akin to what I think should be a correct performance of the Brahms Paganini Variations (I have heard the work played without repeating the theme before the second book and don't like it).

Most horrible is eliminating the middle promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition (like Ravel did in his version).  Unbecoming.
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Offline communist

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 02:11:08 PM »

By the way, the Goldberg variations also has a supplement, and no sane musician would ever consider inserting them radomly within the magnificent architecture of Bach's masterpiece.


Really? I was not aware of that. How many are there with the supplement variations?
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Offline michel dvorsky

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 02:58:12 PM »
Richter, Moiseiwitsch, Cherkassky.

Hmm...I think Hamelin might be the odd man out.
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Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 03:20:56 PM »
Richter, Moiseiwitsch, Cherkassky.

Hmm...I think Hamelin might be the odd man out.


Moiseiwitsch recorded the Symphonic Etudes? I have heard Richter's and they are great.
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Offline argerichfan

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 03:53:09 PM »
Richter, Moiseiwitsch, Cherkassky.

Hmm...I think Hamelin might be the odd man out.

But have you heard Hamelin's recording?  Richter is very fine, even with all the extra variations.  I haven't heard Moiseiwitsch's recording, though if it is anything like other recordings I've heard by him, it should be suberb indeed. 

Alas for Cherkassky.  He has always been controversial, and tends to polarize opinion, especially on forums such as this, but I've never 'got' his playing.  I enjoy him in various Godowsky concoctions and other bon-bons, but I've never found him convincing in the larger works.  IMO, he seems unable to control large spans of time in music, and his rather effete, mincing style would hardly fit the muscular moments of Schumann.  How he obtained the reputation he did is a mystery to me, though he had -and has- many admirers. 

Offline cygnusdei

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #10 on: August 12, 2009, 03:03:04 AM »
I love Pollini's recording. He plays the posth. variations through between Vars. IV (scherzando) and V (agitato). I think it works well because both Var. IV and the last posth. variation end in subdued mood, allowing for attaca in Var. V.

Offline franzliszt2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #11 on: August 16, 2009, 04:05:18 PM »
Hamelin's Schumann is nothing compared to Richter, Gilels, and most certainly Cherkassky!! I heard Cherkassky's recording a while ago and was completly amazed. How he gained a reputation....He had amazing musicianship, an incredible sound, a huge repertoire, a huge personality, a fantastic technique and was truely unique.

Hamelin's recording of anything by Schumann is a must not buy. He just doesn't have the sound for Schumann

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #12 on: August 16, 2009, 04:11:59 PM »
Hamelin's Schumann is nothing compared to Richter, Gilels, and most certainly Cherkassky!! I heard Cherkassky's recording a while ago and was completly amazed. How he gained a reputation....He had amazing musicianship, an incredible sound, a huge repertoire, a huge personality, a fantastic technique and was truely unique.

Hamelin's recording of anything by Schumann is a must not buy. He just doesn't have the sound for Schumann

I actually don't like Gilels' recording. I thought it was generally to slow.

The worst I have heard is by far Perahia's. His is half as slow as Richter's.
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Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #13 on: August 16, 2009, 05:42:40 PM »
Heh, even I don't like the Hamelin recording that much. I personally like Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording, if you want to talk about modern recordings of Schumann. But then again, who am I to talk about whose recording of Schumann is best? I don't even like Schumann, really. Definitely one of the most overrated romantic composers, if you ask me. And yes, I've heard pretty much all of his major compositions and the "best" recordings.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #14 on: August 16, 2009, 05:44:48 PM »
Hamelin's recording of anything by Schumann is a must not buy.

Agreed, it is a recipe for disaster.

You have a pianist who can turn a masterpiece into a midi and a composer that was mediocre at best.

I cannot think of a more horrific combination.

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Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #15 on: August 16, 2009, 07:17:16 PM »
Heh, even I don't like the Hamelin recording that much. I personally like Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording, if you want to talk about modern recordings of Schumann. But then again, who am I to talk about whose recording of Schumann is best? I don't even like Schumann, really. Definitely one of the most overrated romantic composers, if you ask me. And yes, I've heard pretty much all of his major compositions and the "best" recordings.

Please elaborate. I don't possibly see how you could consider Schumann one of the most overrated romantic composers. I'm curious to know you're reasoning although please acknowledge that I'm willing to respect your opinion.

Anyway, back to the original topic. My favorite recording of the Symphonic Etudes is Aimards. I also like Richters and Weissenbergs.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #16 on: August 16, 2009, 10:39:33 PM »
I think that Schumann's music is overblown and that the musical ideas in his music could be said in a lot less time. I would consider Brahms's music to have the same density, but with a greater amount of coherence. I respect the fact that Schumann's music is some of the more adventurous music from that time, harmonically speaking, but then again, Chopin's music was too, and Chopin of course is one of those composers that is hard to hate. I don't hate all of Schumann's music. I really like the Piano Quintet and I can listen to pieces of the larger works.

Offline mikey6

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #17 on: August 17, 2009, 02:23:24 AM »
Please elaborate. I don't possibly see how you could consider Schumann one of the most overrated romantic composers. I'm curious to know you're reasoning although please acknowledge that I'm willing to respect your opinion.
Are you serious? You've only just noticed Thal has a 'slight' dislike for Schumann?
Please don't start this again!
The worst I have heard is by far Perahia's. His is half as slow as Richter's.
Now this requires elaboration! or belongs on dasdc!  ;)
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Offline argerichfan

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #18 on: August 17, 2009, 02:30:03 PM »
I cannot think of a more horrific combination.
Yes you can.  Arrau and the Waldstein

Offline communist

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #19 on: August 17, 2009, 04:16:12 PM »
Yes you can.  Arrau and the Waldstein

What about Perahia and Bartok?
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #20 on: August 17, 2009, 04:58:04 PM »
Yes you can.  Arrau and the Waldstein

I just put the disc into me pc and switch my media player to X 4.

Then it is rather nice.

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Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #21 on: August 17, 2009, 05:55:08 PM »
What about Perahia and Bartok?

Granted Perahia has a few sub par recordings he is still a genius pianist who raises the bar in much of the repertoire he plays. 
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #22 on: August 17, 2009, 06:05:06 PM »
Granted Perahia has a few sub par recordings

A few? I've never heard one recording by him that can even qualify as on par. It all sounds extremely dead to me. There is nothing ear catching about his playing. He doesn't seem to take any risks with his interpretations, and being a safe pianist all of the time just is not appealing.

Offline argerichfan

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #23 on: August 17, 2009, 06:54:21 PM »
A few? I've never heard one recording by him that can even qualify as on par. It all sounds extremely dead to me. There is nothing ear catching about his playing. He doesn't seem to take any risks with his interpretations, and being a safe pianist all of the time just is not appealing.
I sorta understand where you're coming from.  I generally admire Perahia's playing (I've heard him live several times), but when I shop for piano recordings, I bypass Perahia in favour of other pianists.

But... and this is a big BUT... a recent recording I heard of one of the Bach English Suites was excellent, plain and simple.

Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #24 on: August 17, 2009, 09:42:35 PM »
A few? I've never heard one recording by him that can even qualify as on par. It all sounds extremely dead to me. There is nothing ear catching about his playing. He doesn't seem to take any risks with his interpretations, and being a safe pianist all of the time just is not appealing.

Murray Perahia's playing is extremely lively and he creates phenomenal sounds. Calling him "safe" is an inaccurate statement. This is because he never messes around with the music and makes it sparkle on its own. And plus his Bach is very personally interpreted.

If you're looking for an on par recording get one of his Bach, his Handel and Scarlatti, Newest Beethoven sonata recording, Beethoven concerti, Schubert Imprompti, Schubert Sonatas, Schumann and Grieg concerti, Chopin Concerti, Chopin Etudes, or Aldeburgh recital.
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Offline communist

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #25 on: August 17, 2009, 09:44:47 PM »
Perahia is good except I hate his Brahms, Bartok and Symphonic etudes >:(

I like his Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn though  :)
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Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #26 on: August 17, 2009, 09:51:10 PM »
Ramseytheii needs to teach him how to play Handel  ;)

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Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #27 on: August 17, 2009, 09:57:41 PM »
Ramseytheii needs to teach him how to play Handel  ;)



As if anyone on this board is qualified to teach Murray Perahia how to improve upon his Grammy quality Handel? No offense to Mr. Ramsey but this comment is blatantly ignorant.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #28 on: August 17, 2009, 10:01:29 PM »
Murray Perahia's playing is extremely lively and he creates phenomenal sounds. Calling him "safe" is an inaccurate statement. This is because he never messes around with the music and makes it sparkle on its own. And plus his Bach is very personally interpreted.

Perhaps he is just another Brendel to me. A lot of people say the same thing about the two of them, but I am just not seeing any of these lively qualities or phenomenal sounds. I tend to like a pianist that just lets the music shine on its own rather than someone on the other side of the spectrum, but there still needs to be something new that is brought to the table. Or else, what is the use for having their interpretation? They are better off not recording anything at all.

Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #29 on: August 17, 2009, 10:06:17 PM »
Perhaps he is just another Brendel to me. A lot of people say the same thing about the two of them, but I am just not seeing any of these lively qualities or phenomenal sounds. I tend to like a pianist that just lets the music shine on its own rather than someone on the other side of the spectrum, but there still needs to be something new that is brought to the table. Or else, what is the use for having their interpretation? They are better off not recording anything at all.

Perahia's playing to me is much better than Brendel's in terms of appeal and sparkle but whatever you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

PS: Perahia just released a new CD today  :D
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #30 on: August 17, 2009, 10:19:34 PM »
As if anyone on this board is qualified to teach Murray Perahia how to improve upon his Grammy quality Handel? No offense to Mr. Ramsey but this comment is blatantly ignorant.

I was kidding, I assumed you would have known from the emoticon. I do like his Handel though.
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Offline franzliszt2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #31 on: August 18, 2009, 08:13:12 AM »
Perahia's Chopin concerto's are stunning.

Offline mikey6

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #32 on: August 18, 2009, 08:45:10 AM »
Perahia's Chopin concerto's are stunning.
I knew you'd say that!
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Offline imbetter

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #33 on: August 18, 2009, 12:46:30 PM »
Perahia's Chopin concerto's are stunning.

I know I'm learning the first right now (it's quite a very challenging piece) and I bought Perahias recording on Itunes and I was in total amazement.
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline franzliszt2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #34 on: August 19, 2009, 07:57:37 AM »
I knew you'd say that!

I'll be the judge of that

Offline mikey6

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #35 on: August 19, 2009, 08:54:31 AM »
I'll be the judge of that
Where's your backup?
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Offline franzliszt2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #36 on: August 19, 2009, 06:30:32 PM »
It's here...how do you plead?

La loi c'est moi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline mikey6

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #37 on: August 20, 2009, 12:12:28 AM »
It's here...how do you plead?

La loi c'est moi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Mean Machine growls]
I knew you'd say that!

LAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!
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Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #38 on: August 23, 2009, 12:10:16 PM »
Have any of you heard Pletnev's recording?
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Offline kitty on the keys

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Re: Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
«Reply #39 on: August 23, 2009, 01:04:49 PM »
I did not like the  Hamlin recording of either G minor Sonata or the Etudes. I guess I am old-fasioned, I like Kemph and a record disk of Novaes.

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