The sheer simplicity of Schumann's children's piece "Mignon" is my happy Mother's Day wish
The first piece on Songs Without Words, a new solo-piano abum by noted accompanist Julius Drake on the Canadian label ATMA, has held me spellbound. It's out of the middle of Robert Schumann's Pieces for Children, Op. 68, from which comes "The Happy Farmer," which I played as a 5- or 6-year-old.
It never would have occurred to me to look there for adult music. I sat down to play "Mignon" myself and realised that it would be very difficult for a beginner pianist to actually do this piece justice, because it relies as much on the piano as the pianist's fingers to move the piece forward.
I'm putting the wonderful simplicity of this music out there as my Mother's Day offering. It's the simple things that are the easiest to take for granted -- and are the most difficult to live without.
(Click on the image of the score, if you want to see it larger.)
Here is Brazilian pianist Rosiane Lemos, just having fun at a piano (she wrote her Master's dissertation on Schumann's Pieces for Children, so she has been living with this music for a while):
Drake didn't forget to choose a couple of Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words for his album, which sounds and feels like an anti-encore album.
There is nothing on video by Drake that illustrates the album. Instead, for a wonderful clip of Emil Gilels playing Mendelssohn's "Duetto" from the Op. 38 Songs Wihout Words in a 1983 Moscow recital, click here.