Recording: Schumann: The Poet Speaks
Fanfare, July/August 2003

“an often-extravagant celebration of Schumann’s mercurial daring. “

Golan has entitled this CD The Poet Speaks… the disc is an often-extravagant celebration of Schumann’s mercurial daring. To be sure, Golan has an exceptional sense of line (see Walter Simmons’s praise of her Barber Nocturne, 22:6), and there are passages of serene radiance: the sweet nostalgia of the 17th movement of Davidsbündlertänze, for instance, or the intimacy of the seventh of the Papillons. But to my ears, what’s most striking about this collection is not Golan’s composure, but her ability to defamiliarize the music by bringing Schumann’s disruptions to the fore: her sharp dynamic contrasts (listen to her abrupt pianos in the third movement of Davidsbündlertänze),  her sudden shifts of tone and articulation, her willingness to engage in unabashed rubato, and her delight in the music’s rowdy rhythmic quirks (note the way she sharpens the three-against-two conflicts in the tenth movement of Davidsbündlertänze).

I don’t want to suggest that she’s unsubtle: The nervous undercurrents of Liszt’s transcription of Frühlingsnacht are superbly balanced so that they carry along the music’s erotic striving, rather than drown it out… her performances are well worth hearing.

Excellent sound. Provocative notes by the pianist explore the issues of memory in Schumann’s music.

by Peter J. Rabinowitz

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