ROBERT SCHUMANN: WORKS FOR PIANOPiano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor, Op.11
Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op.26
SALLY PINKAS, piano
"Judging by this Schumann program [Sally Pinkas] is a force to be reckoned with and has a natural feeling for the peculiarities of the composer's idiom. She also writes her own lucid notes and is given excellent sound from the Spaulding Auditorium at Dartmouth... [her piano] is a fine-sounding instrument, near ideal for Schumann... All of these performances have a sweep and passion to them, without pushing the button too far. Her technical ability handles all that the composer can thrust at her."
American Record Guide [November / December 2009]
"Sally Pinkas is a distinguished NH and Boston-based pianist, and, as expected, this all-Schumann recital does not disappoint... In Pinkas’ performance [of Faschingsschwank aus Wien] I particularly like the teasing quality of the scherzo and the good humor that comes across in the opening movement... The huge Sonata No. 1 is the most successful of Schumann’s three piano sonatas, and Pinkas plays it as well as I have ever heard it played, presenting the 1st movement’s extended narrative with encompassing sweep and understanding, finding the heart-rending qualities of the 2nd movement’s “Aria,” and the arch humor of the 3rd. She holds the sprawling last movement together with wonderfully consistent rhythm. My previous favorite recording of this work was a soulful version by Claudio Arrau, but Pinkas’ performance surpasses that one and her recording has far better sound. This MSR CD was recorded in the Spaulding Auditorium of Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center and produced by Pinkas’ husband, pianist Evan Hirsch. He has managed to capture the instrument’s brightness with a sense of the hall’s reverberance, but also allows the listener to experience a wide dynamic range that permits Schumann’s softer music to register. Bravo! Pinkas’ playing [of Waldszenen] like her well-written liner notes, tends toward sensible clarification... I find Pinkas’ Waldscenen to be a lovely, unpretentious performance full of telling details and rhythmic precision. Sally Pinkas is obviously a member in good standing of the “Davidsbund”, Schumann’s imaginary band of enlightened appreciators of true art."
Paul Orgel, Classical Voice of New England [October 2009]
"The Waldszenen are nicely shaped and finely characterized... ."
[ * * * ] BBC Music Magazine [October 2009]
"Sally Pinkas is an excellent pianist."
Turok's Choice, No.213 [September 2009]
"[a] fine new solo disc. [She] plays with a keen ear for architectural appects, while also deftly conveying programmatic aspects when they apply. Pinkas is an artist who melds lucid textures with subtle expressive detailing, minus hints of bombast or mannerism. Her attention to noble tonal resources and rhythmic clarity ensure that each of the disc's works exudes distinctive character. To [Faschingsschwank] Pinkas brings ample lilt, nuance and patience. Throughout the narratives [of the Sonata] Pinkas' command of line is suave, her articulation sure and her crystalline voicing a vote of confidence in Schumann's deeply personal sonic world."
Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone [October 2009]
"Sally Pinkas must be counted among the winners [who have recorded the Schumann]... she has a firm grasp of the rugged excitement that grips us in the last movement of the composer’s turbulent First Sonata—rarely have I heard it done so effectively. And many of the Forest Scenes are downright lovely... Pinkas is a fine player, as she has shown before in other recordings. And there are many excellent things in this recital..."
Steven Ritter, Fanfare [September/October 2009]
"[In the Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor] the eleven minute Finale represents a major technical challenge for any pianist. It is one that Sally Pinkas rises to expertly."
Jeff Perkins, BlogCritics [June 2009]
"Israeli-born American pianist Sally Pinkas conveys three works of Robert Schumann to us in a way that shows a real love and deep understanding of the composer. Not content with just performing Faschingschwank aus Wien, Sonata No.1 and Waldszenen in all their glory and with all their formidable technical difficulties, she also attempts to present a cogent picture of the poetic and psychological intention that informs Schumann's music."
Atlanta Audio Society [April 2009]
"Pinkas brings a lovely tone, attention to phrases and structure, and a perfectly timed rhetorical sense to all she plays...”
PROGRAM NOTESSince her London debut at Wigmore Hall, Israeli-born pianist SALLY PINKAS has presented recitals in Italy’s Villa Serbelloni (Bellagio) and Villa Aurelia (Rome), Bulgaria’s National Gallery (Sofia), in Israel, France and throughout the United States. She has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops, Aspen Philharmonia, Jupiter Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony and Dobrich Chamber Orchestra (Bulgaria). Summer festival credits include the Rockport, Music Mountain, Marlboro, Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals in the United States, as well as Kfar Blum (Israel), Rocca di Mezzo (Italy) and Pontlevoy (France).
As a chamber musician, Ms. Pinkas explores a wide repertoire ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. The Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo (with husband Evan Hirsch) has performed throughout the US as well as in China, Nigeria, Russia, Israel, Italy, France and Bulgaria, garnering critical acclaim. The Duo has commissioned, premiered and recorded works by George Rochberg, Daniel Pinkham, Thomas Oboe Lee and Peter Child for the Gasparo, Arsis and Albany labels. With her long-time partner, flutist Fenwick Smith, Pinkas has recorded a 3-CD set of the complete flute chamber works of Philippe Gaubert (Naxos). A disc featuring the Fauré Piano Quartets with the Adaskin String Trio was recently released by MSR Classics [MS1293]. Among her other collaborators are the Blair, Biava, Ciompi, and Lydian String Quartets. Pinkas’ solo recordings include Debussy’s Twelve Etudes and Estampes (Centaur), and Bread and Roses: Piano works by Christian Wolff (Mode). Her recording of Gabriel Fauré’s Thirteen Nocturnes (Musica Omnia) was named one of 2002’s best CDs by Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe. Brown University awarded her the prestigious Howard Fellowship for a recording of George Rochberg’s solo piano works (Gasparo).
ROBERT SCHUMANN’S creative outpourings, both musical and literary, reflect the ardent romantic spirit of 19th century Germany. Schumann left behind a comprehensive oeuvre of instrumental and vocal compositions. In addition, throughout his short life he remained at the forefront of a heated literary debate, becoming one of the most influential musical commentators of his generation. His greatest contribution as a composer, arguably, was to the repertoire for solo piano (until 1840 he wrote predominantly for the piano). He himself had hoped to become a pianist in his youth, and his marriage to the celebrated pianist Clara Wieck was to keep him intimately involved with the instrument for the rest of his life.
Schumann’s musical style followed the paths explored by his admired predecessors Beethoven and Schubert. The pianoforte of his time had evolved, however: it had a wider pitch range, as well as the capacity to produce a richer and louder sound than that produced by earlier keyboards. Schumann’s ambitious scoring for this larger instrument challenged the pianist to create a dense, almost orchestral sound. Further, the emotionally charged content of Schumann’s music required the performer to reach beyond the technical, into the spiritual realm. The rewards were considerable, as both performer and listener were drawn to the exuberant vitality of a passionate nature.
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
FASCHINGSSCHWANK AUS WIEN, FANTASIEBILDER, OP.26 (1839)
PIANO SONATA IN F-SHARP MINOR, OP.11 (1832-1836)
WALDSZENEN, NEUN KLAVIERSTÜCKE, OP.82 (1848-1849)