Davidsbundlertänze, Op. 6 Books I & II
Fantasie in C major, Op. 17
Theme with Variations in E flat major, WoO 24 “Geistervariationen”
Cordelia Williams, Piano
This new recording by pianist Cordelia Williams (Piano Winner of BBC Young Musician 2006) is a unique combination of three of Schumann’s finest works for the instrument: the Davidsbündlertänze Books I and II, Fantasie and the Geistervariationen.
The Davidsbündlertänze is a set of 18 pieces for solo piano, featuring characters who did not really exist, except in Schumann’s musical imagination. They initially appeared as characters from his unfinished 1831 novel, Davidsbündler (the League of David). The pieces are not true Dances but more musical dialogues about music between Schumann’s characters Florestan and Eusebius. These respectively represent the impetuous and the lyrical, poetic sides of Schumann’s nature. Each piece is ascribed to one or both of them. Schumann’s wife Clara was practically his sole motivation for writing this work, an expression of his passionate love, longings and dreams. It remains one of Schumann’s greatest achievements.
Schumann composed the Fantasie Op. 17 in 1836 and dedicated it to Liszt. It consists of three movements in loose sonata form. The first movement is rhapsodic and passionate followed by a grandiose rondo in the second movement and ending with a slow and meditative third movement. The Geistervariationen lies at the other end of Schumann’s life – it was, in fact, his very last solo piano piece, completed in 1854 just before he was admitted to a mental institution. The ‘Ghost Variations’ are very rarely heard (Schumann said the theme was given to him by an angel) and constitute a hauntingly beautiful work.
“On the evidence of this new recording it’s not hard to understand her success. Her playing has a warmth and finely judged flexibility that are immediately attractive. The spontaneity of the performances as well as the beauty of the piano tone, … linger in the mind… ”
Misha Donat, BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 **** (SOMMCD 0127, Schubert Impromptus)
“Williams’ brilliantly fluid technique and unassuming mastery of the piano is to the fore on this recording, which promises much for the future.”
Classic FM Radio Review (Classic FM Drive Featured Album, 15-19 July 2013).
Cordelia Williams has been acclaimed as a pianist of great power and delicate sensitivity, drawing in audiences with her rich sound, natural eloquence and “spell-binding simplicity”. She has performed all over the world, including concertos with the English Chamber orchestra, in Mexico City, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Beijing Concert Hall. In December 2014 she made her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at Barbican Hall, London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
Cordelia has a great enthusiasm for presenting and introducing music; her Cafe Muse evenings bring classical music out of the concert hall and into the relaxed setting of bars and brasseries. She is also a passionate chamber musician, having appeared with the Endellion, Fitzwilliam and Maggini quartets among others. Since becoming Piano Winner of BBC Young Musician 2006, she has performed with orchestras including London Mozart Players and Royal Northern Sinfonia and given recitals at the Barbican Hall and Purcell Room, as well as in France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, China, America, Mexico, Kenya and the Gulf States. This season includes appearances at the Cheltenham Festival, Cadogan Hall and King’s Place.
At the core of Cordelia’s musicality is a fascination with the human soul and the artistic expression of struggles and beliefs; alongside her performing career she gained a First in Theology from Clare College, Cambridge. She is recognised for the poetry, conviction and inner strength of her playing and the depth and maturity of her interpretation. Her curiosity towards religions and faith has led to her current project, Between Heaven and the Clouds: Messiaen 2015. In collaboration with award-winning poet Michael Symmons Roberts, Lord Rowan Williams and artist Sophie Hacker, this year-long series of events and performances explores the music, context and theology of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus.
On This Recording
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 1. Lebhaft
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 2. Innig
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 3. Mit Humor
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 4. Ungeduldig
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 5. Einfach
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 6. Sehr rasch
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 7. Nicht schnell
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 8. Frisch
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 9. Lebhaft
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 10. Balladenmassig, sehr rasch
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 11. Einfach
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 12. Mit Humor
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 13. Wild und lustig
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 14. Zart und singend
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 15. Frisch
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 16. Mit gutem Humor
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 17. Wie aus der Ferne
- Davidsbundlertanze: No. 18. Nicht schnell
- Fantasie: I. Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen
- Fantasie: II. Massig
- Fantasie: III. Langsam getragen
- Variations on an Original Theme: Theme: Leise, innig
- Variations on an Original Theme: Variation 1
- Variations on an Original Theme: Variation 2: Canonisch
- Variations on an Original Theme: Variation 3: Etwas belebter
- Variations on an Original Theme: Variation 4
- Variations on an Original Theme: Variation 5