K. LONG Schumann: A Piano Recital (1948-50) - PAKM016

This album is included in the following sets:

K. LONG Schumann: A Piano Recital (1948-50) - PAKM016

Regular price €0.00 €8.00 Sale

CDs are produced to order and are normally shipped within 3-5 working days.

Regular price €0.00 €10.00 Sale

  • Sold Out! - CD with case & artwork (+MP3)


SCHUMANN Sonata, Two Novelletes, Romance

Recorded: 1948-50
Duration 37:18

Kathleen Long, piano

This set contains the following albums:

Kathleen Long plays Schumann

Decca recordings at the cusp of the vinyl revolution

We continue our collection of piano recordings by Kathleen Long with this 1951 Decca release, which would appear to be a compilation of late 1940's recordings made for 78rpm issue.

The earliest days of the LP resulted in a number of recordings being issued on the new format following brand new, taped (rather than cut to 78rpm disc) recording sessions. It also resulted in some rather rushed - and in this case, short-lived - releases, and recording companies were exceptionally reluctant to reveal whether the recordings were new or re-releases of older material.

As with our earlier Fauré compilation, released in April 2006 as PAKM015, this makes for some difficulties in finding the precise piano tone required - to put it bluntly, from a technical, sound-quality perspective the original Schumann recordings were pretty dire.

This particular restoration ended up being a rare example of Peter Harrison and myself working on the same material. I had spent a long time working on the record and had found a tonal quality I was happy with - but the endless swish of the vinyl and other noise problems were driving me mad! I asked Peter if he'd like to take a stab at it to see whether he might have more success coming at it with a fresh approach. Following his amazing clean-up, working at the very limits of what is currently technically possible, I supplied various EQ and other settings which aimed to replace what The Record Guide rather sniffily referred to as the piano's "shallow and metallic" sound with something rather more believeable - and listenable!

Perhaps this is where we - Peter and I - are prepared sometimes to cross a line with regard to intervention in the recorded sound. Something here was clearly wrong, to the extent that the reviewers of the day didn't like it, and almost nobody had purchased it. And yet with the almost forensic precision of modern audio analysis and remastering technology, I believe that between us we have succeeded in revealing a wonderful recording that neither of us suspected would be there.

After an exceptionally long gestation, a musical flower has finally come into bloom - just have a listen to the sample Romance and I think you'll agree...

Andrew Rose

Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 - rec. 9/1/48
Novelette in D major
Op. 21, No. 2 - rec. 1950?[b*]
Romance in F sharp major Op. 28, No. 2 - rec. 1950?[a*]
Novelette in F sharp minor
Op. 21, No. 8
- rec. 1950?[b*]

*These pieces were made to provide LP couplings for recordings dating from 1943-48 and were not allocated 78rpm matrix numbers. In consequence it has not been possible to date them precisely, though they were probably recorded in a single session, with the tapes perhaps being edited on [a] 9 Mar 50, [d] 9 Jun 50

First LP issue in 1951 as Decca LP LK4023
Piano Sonata No. 2 also issued on 78rpm AK2300-2
Duration 37:18

Kathleen Long, piano

Bill Rosen's Review

I had decided to sample several minutes of the Schumann 2nd sonata since I'm not fond of the work and I ended up listening to the whole thing and enjoying it immensely. That might serve as my whole review.

Schumann in his piano music was uncomfortable with sonata form. His true metier was collections of subtly related piano pieces such as Carnaval and Davidsbundlertanze. His three sonatas are only fitfully inspired and filled with rhetorical homages to form. The second sonata begins with the tempo indication "prestissimo possibile" ("as fast as possible") and 50 or 60 bars later asks the pianist to play faster. It's hard to play very fast and very lyrically for five or six minutes. Kathleen Long does it with consummate ease. The second movement is so fresh, so quiet, so new. The somewhat contrived scherzo and the finale are very convincing.

The Novelettes feature a lot of Schumannesque vehemence, not all of which seems justified. Ms. Long brings out the lyical content in the first one. Her playing of the second one (#8, F# minor) convinces me that it is a great work, very powerful, very masculine. In Kathleen Long's hands, it is the final word on Florestan, ardent, fiery, and Schumannesque to the nth degree.

Having been blessed with her Faure and now with her Schumann, let us hope that a little more Kathleen Long remains.

Andrew Rose's introduction for this CD tells us how difficult this restoration was and the fact that both he and Peter Harrison had to work jointly to produce it. The finished product shows no sign of their labor and strain except perhaps in its clarity and beauty.

Reviewer: Bill Rosen