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.
“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.” - International Record Review
“The Nash players are British chamber-music royalty, but it is always an especial pleasure to hear the voluptuous viola sound of Lawrence Power in such an eloquent dialogue with Ian Brown’s piano in the too rarely heard Märchenbilder...A gorgeous, unmissable disc of great, too infrequently heard chamber music.” - The Sunday Times (UK)