International Record Review: Outstanding November 2011.
This rarity in the catalogue brings together Robert Schumann’s complete production for violin and orchestra – three works from the period just before the composer was confined to the mental institution where he would die within two years. To various degrees, all of this music remained suppressed, forgotten or disregarded after Schumann’s death. The only work that was performed in Schumann’s lifetime was the Fantasy in C major, dedicated to the violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. But although the première was a success and Joachim kept the work in his repertoire, the Fantasy fell victim to the incomprehension that a large part of Schumann’s final works met with, and was for a long time rarely heard in performance. Written shortly afterwards, the Violin Concerto in D minor suffered an even harsher fate. Schumann also intended this work for Joachim, but although the latter was closely involved in the process of composition, he never performed the work in public. Instead, after the composer’s death he and Schumann’s widow Clara decided against publishing the work, which remained unperformed until 1937. It is likely that Schumann made the violin version of his Cello Concerto after composing the D-minor concerto, and probably it was once more Joachim who provided the inspiration. In any case, it was among Joachim’s papers that the solo violin part with Schumann’s handwritten additions was found, as late as 1987! A dedicated advocate of Schumann’s music, the soloist Ulf Wallin has gone back to the composer's autographs in order to present these works in their purest form. He is aided by the fine team of the Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie and their conductor Frank Beerman, making their first appearance on BIS. Ulf Wallin, on the other hand, has made a succession of acclaimed recordings for the label, earning him mentions as ‘a mesmerizing soloist’ in BBC Music Magazine, and ‘a violinist of many facets, at the same time hallucinatory and direct, refined and accessible’ in Diapason.