JÖRG WIDMANN (b.1973): Toccata, Fleurs du mal, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Nachtstücke, Op. 23, Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133.
Catalogue Number: 03M107
Reference: WER 6808 2
Description: Widmann has an affinity for Schumann's music, and in his own (very different, of course) idiom, seeks a similar expression of extreme emotional states - hence the coupling. Widmann's Toccata, which includes sounds produced off the keyboard, and ends with kind of 'Tell-tale heart' tapping on the piano case, requires of the pianist both exact rhythmic precision in detached gestures and a more conventional virtuosity of velocity in feverishly repeated tonal patterns that suggest a nightmarish descent into obsession of a performer in the throes of a performance of Schumann. Nightmare - but described in crystalline detail - is also central to the sonata Fleurs du mal, which takes its cue from Baudelaire's classical precision in describing depravity and evil. A relatively early work, this sonata contains clearly apparent influences - Messiaen and Stockhausen as well as more tonal 20th-century composers such as Bartók (and could Widmann really be familiar with Ronald Stevenson's music?) and, inevitably, Schumann. The piece is both pianistically and expressively very effective, and despite its obviously modern idiom, a good deal more approachable than one might initially expect. Fabio Romano (piano).