I think the point is that it's sometimes said that Schumann's contribution outside solo piano was not great, and some even say his compositional technique for larger orchestral works was a bit "iffy". It's also alleged by some that his later works suffered a quality deterioration. Isserlis is saying he doesn't agree with any of this, and therefore Schumann should be rated more highly. All these counter-alllegations have been made by others, but Isserlis is a highly respected musician and is the latest to make them in this Schumann's anniversary year (he died in 1856).BWV 1080 wrote:Its difficult to see how Schumann is underrated if he is widely held (and fairly so) to be one of the greatest and most influential early Romantic composers - easily the peer of Chopin and LisztBrahms wrote:
Great interview. It's entirely likely that Schumann remains one of the most underrated composers of all time.
I've seen a longer version of this interview in which he is very critical of Clara Schumann for adopting a paranoid attitude with regard to preventing the publication of various late works she considered inferior (or tainted). Having said this, Clara - a brilliant musician - certainly recognised high quality music and she was unstinting in her many public performances in show-casing her husbands works. (Jack and Karl, I bet those performances were something, ay?)
To anyone who listens to his Piano Concerto, 4 wonderful symphonies, piano quintet, beautiful song cycles, and tons more, Schumann's extraodinary all-round abilties are obvious. To many he is seen to be just another Romantic, but I feel that he should be rated among the top Romantics. I'm sure from what I've seen of late there is a growing interest in Schumann. Let's hope it continues because his works contain a real treasure chest of goodies that more should enjoy. In many ways I actually prefer Schumann to several other 19th C notables. Bearing in mind he produced all this while suffering from bipolar disorder (serious depression) is all the more remarkable. He was only 46 when he died and the last two years were in hospital. Very sad indeed.