Robert Schumann (German, 1810-1856)
Sonata no. 3 in A minor for violin and fortepiano, mvt. 4 (or 3 and 4, or the whole sonata!)
Orfeo Duo (Vita Wallace, violin; Ishmael Wallace, fortepiano)
Schumann made his mark as a pianist and composer, but he also contributed significantly to musical life in Germany and elsewhere as a music critic. He wrote extensively on music and musicians, and had an uncanny knack for spotting emerging talent such as Chopin and Brahms, among others.
This recording by the Orfeo Duo uses a 19th century piano, which looks and sounds quite different from a modern one. But what completely blew me away when I first heard it was the remarkable originality of the violin playing, as well as the compositions themselves. It was a tremendous inspiration to me; in fact, I'm pretty that our Mendelssohn CD wouldn't exist if I hadn't heard this nearly 10 years ago.
If you have time I recommend listening to the whole piece; to me it feels like being taken on a journey of emotions you never knew you had. If you have a little less time, try the third and fourth movements, or just the fourth.
This recording is also unusual because each movement is completely unedited, which gives it the raw, exciting quality of a live performance. There aren't many musicians brave enough to do that!
In May 2017 I challenged my students to practice every day for 30 days in a row. In addition, I asked them to listen to 30 bite-sized musical selections I emailed daily. I collected my picks in this blog for posterity. So these are works I find particularly fun, interesting, or important, including a handful by composers who were born or who died in May. Please enjoy!