Dorothea Craxton, soprano
Hedayet Djeddikar, fortepiano
This is not an outstanding album, I have to tell the truth. I think that the soprano’s voice is too weak and shrill and, as if it was not enough, the fortepiano is recorded too loud, further covering the singer’s voice… But it is anyway interesting, at least if you want to make yourself an idea about Clara Schumann’s songs. It is more usual to find her songs alongside with those written by her husband and to share with him the glory but also the listener’s attention. This does not happen here.
Complete Songs collects all the songs Clara wrote in her life. They were written in different periods, but only few survive among those written in her youth. Almost all the preserved production belongs to the period after her marriage and Clara intended the songs as birthday or Christmas presents to her husband. She chose the subjects among the dearest themes of the Romantics, such as nature, love, melancholy, mystery, separation and death. Significantly, she did not compose any other song after Robert’s death.
As I wrote at the beginning, Complete Songs is better in aim than in realization, but I cannot deny that there is something good to add. Soprano Dorothea Craxton and fortepianist Hedayet Djeddikar sing and play as if they exhibit for a small group (I am thinking to something like a family gathering, considering the reason why the songs were composed) rather than for a large audience and this give a touch of intimacy to the album. Moreover, if the soprano is not extremely pleasant, the fortepiano sounds warm and rich.
At last, one nice curiosity. The songs were played on Clara Schumann’s fortepiano.