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Dating from the early 1850s, when Schumann was hovering on the cusp of madness, these three sonatas are characterised by a fractured lyricism – melancholy in mood, almost obsessively restless, but also surging with passion. Marwood, matched at every step by Madzar, captures the playfulness and whimsical poetry of the First Sonata, the nobility of the Second and gypsy-like brilliance of the Third. Even so, there’s a whiff of the genteel about these readings: they lack the size and go-for-broke quality that distinguishes Renaud Capuçon’s live performances on EMI from Martha Argerich’s Lugano chamber music festival.
Anthony Marwood/Aleksander Madzar