Only two of the four works on this release by Piotr Anderszewski are actually designated as fantasies, but the mercurial Polish pianist has an original premise here: it is the idea of the fantasy rather than the genre as such that is explored.
And therein lies for me an important, precious connection between Mozart and Schumann: an unobstructed directness to their music, in which the purity of intention remains intact." There's certainly room to debate that statement in the abstract, but the fact is that here it makes for a novel and persuasively coherent recital.
475, in an unusually seductive, murky mood.
This work is often joined to the Piano Sonata in C minor, K.
457, but Anderszewski makes an especially close tie here, beginning without a pause and seemingly letting the fantasy seep into his reading of the sonata.
The Schumann Fantasy in C major, Op.
17, receives a fine, poetic reading.
The program closes with an unusual item, the so-called Geistervariationen or Ghost Variations in E flat major, WoO 24, Schumann's last work, which he began before he threw himself into the Rhine River and completed afterward, in the asylum.
The work has never been very popular, but has exerted a fascination on various musicians including Tori Amos, who quoted it in "Your Ghost." Anderszewski makes a strong case for it here, creating an atmosphere in which music seems to be swirling in the composer's head; the theme-and-variations form might seem antithetical to the "fantasy" idea, but Anderszewski draws a strong connection.
A fine piece of pure Romantic pianism.