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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Schumann: Fantasie, Op. 17 / Paul Lewis, piano

Album Summary

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for piano
>Schumann, Robert : Fantasia in C major, Op. 17
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

On this recording, Paul Lewis performs two major works of the keyboard repertoire. Decidedly programmatic, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is more commonly heard today in Ravel's orchestral version. However, the original for solo piano is both a technical tour-de-force and a brilliant example of the composer's coloristic gifts. The pairing is Schumann's Fantaisie Op.17, a work whose movements originally had evocative titles (Ruin, Triumphal Arch, Constellation). The 'program' was removed before publication, but the 'pictures' Schumann intended listeners to imagine remain.

The Telegraph, 1st February 2015
Lewis possesses the palette of pianistic colour and the immediacy of impulse to animate and crystallise the moods of the individual miniatures, coupled with the long view that unites them into a multifaceted but fully integrated whole. The magnificence of his achievement here is replicated in Schumann's C major Fantasie.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2015
Lewis has quite a spring in his step, and he emphasises the sense of leading to each Picture by not tracking the Promenades separately...The Schumann (perhaps a strange coupling) has much to recommend it. It is more contained than some; but Lewis's haloed sound and unfailing sense of thoughtfulness is winning.

International Record Review, March 2015
Lewis parades [the Schumann's] heroic gestures in bold style, but he is also dynamically modulated - the music and what it may be about comes first...and his manner in slower sections is seductive if also organically fitting...As for the canvases, Lewis is vivid with them, and his approach is enjoyable and admirable...Lewis's account, overall, is very impressive and recommendable.

Irish Times, 6th February 2015
His directness of approach is heightened by the in-your-face closeness of the recorded sound... the resulting rawness highlights the originality of the music.

Pianist Magazine, April/May 2015
I liked his fearless approach - it is like a young gazelle outrunning its competitors ... Lewis brings his beautiful singing tone to the tender last movement [of the Schumann].

BBC Music Magazine, April 2015
Lewis has a natural empathy for Schumann, revelling in the first movement's impulsive changes of mood and projecting wonderfully calm inner reflection at the outset of the third. He emphasises the cogency of Mussorgsky's Pictures with a performance of granitic strength and wonderful tonal variety.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (11/2010/02/2014).


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Works Details

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for piano
  • Performer: Paul Lewis (Piano)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874

>Schumann, Robert : Fantasia in C major, Op. 17
  • Performer: Paul Lewis (Piano)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1836