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Robert Schumann

Davidsbündlertänze, Opus 6

Carlton Classics 3036601127
Amazon - UK

Recordings, Part 3

Fou Ts'ong
Carlton Classics 3036601127 (2CDs)
Recorded 1989

Comparative Versions: Gieseking/Kempff/Berezovsky

Previously I reviewed Fou Ts'ong's performance of Schumann's Kinderszenen which happens to be on this 2-CD set from Carlton Classics. In Kinderszenen, Fou Ts'ong's highest priority was to utilize hesitations, and he was generally successful; however, I can't say that his version is among the better ones on the market.

Fortunately, Fou Ts'ong takes a step forward in the 18-movement Davidsbündlertänze. The first night I listened to the performance, my reaction was luke-warm at best. The second night went much better, and by the third, I was totally hooked on all his hesitations and rather jagged/choppy lines which are most pronounced in the 3rd Movement.

Fou Ts'ong's hesitations work beautifully in the tension-laden 4th Movement; here, the hesitations add to the music's drama and the performance rivals the outstanding Kempff on Deutsche Grammophon.

Another great performance is Fou Ts'ong's 8th Movement. Given that the 8th is motorized and perpetual motion, I didn't think that his style of hesitation would win the day. Surprisingly, he never employs any hesitations, and the result is a very exciting reading.

Fou Ts'ong's 10th and 11th Movements are also exceptional. In the 10th , Florestan is using all his muscle and determination; Fou Ts'ong delivers a power-packed and incisive reading. His performance of the 11th Movement is mysterious and lovely, although it can't match Boris Berezovsky's comforting interpretation on Teldec.

Don's Conclusions: On balance, every movement has much to offer, because Fou Ts'ong fully captures the Florestan and Eusebius personalities. Although I still prefer Gieseking and Kempff, Fou Ts'ong presents an excellent and distinctive alternative fully the equal of the Berezovsky.

I'll be reviewing in the future additional Schumann works on Fou Ts'ong's 2CD set, and it looks like the set will be worthy of your consideration.

Copyright © 2002 by Don Satz.

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