Martin Helmchen: Schumann Novellettes and Beethoven Diabelli variations
Martin Helmchen has just released his recording of Beethoven Diabelli variations in alpha and his is touring them:
However the most interesting part of this Southbank Center International Piano series programme was the inclusion of 4 Novellettes by Robert Schumann, a music rarely heard in concert.
This was serious stuff. Helmchen played the music with intense concentration, not allowing any rest in between pieces, trying to make a coherent narrative with these somehow disjointed pieces. And he did it. Even the silences had a meaning. It’s hard to explain how he extracted the common denominator from these works and keep it running through all of the music making. No need to say that the he has superb from the technical point of view.
And then the Diabelli. That piano repertoire cornerstone that always need to be played in a transcendent way, like a summary of what had been done in the past with keyboard music and what was to come. Helmchen played them seriously, sometime even angriness could be felt. He allowed the music the breath waiting for some variations to settle down on the listener experience before starting a new one with a different mood. This resulted on a very varied exposition that was always interesting and effortless to listen to.