- Clara Schumann (1819-1896): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 7:
- 1I. Allegro Maestoso06:30
- 2II. Romanze. Andante non troppo, con Grazia04:56
- 3III. Finale. Allegro non troppo - Allegro Molto10:25
- Ludwig van Beethoven (17770-1827): Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major, Op. 58:
- 4I. Allegro Moderato18:24
- 5II. Andante con Moto05:13
- 6III. Rondo. Vivace10:16
Info for Clara
"Ragna’s intensive engagement with Clara gave me the feeling at times that Clara herself was sitting at the piano," says the French conductor Ariane Matiakh with great enthusiasm following the recording of this album.
Such a comparison pays the pianist great respect, though the perception is not plucked out of thin air. For more than 30 years now Ragna Schirmer has been researching the composer, pianist and persona of Clara Schumann. Even as a schoolgirl learning the piano, she admired the nineteenth-century artist’s apparent dexterity; later on, she read biographies, diaries and the entire correspondence – in short, everything pertaining to Clara Schumann. Ragna Schirmer not only greatly admires the composer’s works; she is fascinated by Clara’s character and her diverse roles as a pianist, mother and emancipated artist. The present recording combines Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor op. 7 with the Piano Concerto no. 4 in G major by Ludwig van Beethoven, which Clara Schumann played in more than 50 concerts and for which she wrote her own cadenzas. To make this live recording, Ragna Schirmer invited the conductor Ariane Matiakh to the place she has chosen to live, Halle an der Saale. “She has the ability to coax the tenderest tones from the orchestra while storing up expressive power and vast energy for the evening’s dramatic moments,” writes Ragna Schirmer. Two modern-day artists thus discover the artist Clara Schumann in the here and now – at the highest musical level!
This recording marks the fulfilment of a long-held wish by Ragna Schirmer: to suitably mark the 200th birthday of Clara Schumann, on September 13, 2019. That wish has grown into a large-scale long-term project, following on from her recording "Liebe in Variationen" released in 2015, which looked at the musical messages of affection and love between Robert and Clara Schumann and their friend Johannes Brahms.
On Ragna’s new album Clara is now the focal point.
Ragna Schirmer, piano
Ariane Matiakh, conductor
With her unique interpretations, pianist Ragna Schirmer is held in high esteem, even beyond Germany’s borders. Her artful way of nuancing, her attention to detail, and her passion for rediscovering well known and lesser known compositions and linking them to modern life – all these attributes distinguish Ragna Schirmer. She won the Leipzig International Bach Competition in 1992 and 1998 and made a remarkable album debut with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. In 2009, she obtained her second ECHO Klassik award for her recording of George Frideric Handel’s piano suites, which was highly praised by the critics, and in 2012, she was honoured with the Handel Prize of the city of Halle. 15 first prizes and special awards at national and international competitions are visible proof of the pianist’s impressive career.
A special passion of the pianist’s is her study of Clara Wieck-Schumann, which has led, among other things, to the release of a CD entitled Liebe in Variationen (love in variations), to mark the 175th wedding anniversary of Clara and Robert in 2015; a recording of pieces which seem to echo the musical messages exchanged between Clara and Robert and their friend Johannes Brahms.
Ragna Schirmer’s dramaturgic and programmatic skills, coupled with her lively presentations, make concerts an extraordinary experience. It is not surprising that the pianist is in theatre productions as well, written specifically for her.
Ragna Schirmer gives concerts in the biggest concert halls in Europe, China and New Zealand as well as at renowned festivals such as the “Heidelberger Frühling“ (artist in residence 2010), the Beethovenfest Bonn, the “MDR-Musiksommer” organised by Central German Broadcasting (MDR), the Haydn Festival Eisenstadt, and the Salzburg Festival. She has played together with Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, and Herbert Blomstedt, to name only a few, and has performed with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Orchestre National de France, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.