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Isata Kanneh-Mason's 'Romance - The Piano Music of Clara Schumann' gets CLASSIC fM 'Album Of the Week'

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Every week, Classic FM presenter and music expert David Mellor reviews the best new releases and re-issues from the world of classical music. This week, David picks out Isata Kanneh-Mason's 'Romance - The Piano Music of Clara Schumann' on Decca.

After the rise to fame of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, now along comes his sister Isata, making her debut album on Decca. It's a well chosen disc, dedicated to the 19th century piano virtuoso Clara Schumann in this her 200th anniversary year. Clara was married to Robert Schumann, and outlived him by almost four decades. During that time she established herself as one of Europe's leading piano virtuosi, and had a huge influence on the development of Johannes Brahms. A formidable woman then, to whom history has not necessarily paid proper attention.

On this generous 76 minute album, Isata plays the Piano Concerto Clara Schumann finished in her mid-teens, three Romances for violin and piano, and some of Clara's solo piano music. None of this, to be frank, is as good as Robert's best work, and certainly nowhere near as good as Brahms. But the Piano Concerto is attractive, with a charming slow movement that seems to be a duo between a solo cello and the piano, without any other orchestral contributions at all. But I may be wrong – I didn't have the score available. It's well worth a listen, as is the rest of the stuff; not memorable, but attractive. 

On this evidence, Isata Kanneh-Mason is a player of considerable talent, and could well march alongside her brother to considerable fame. At least, I hope so.

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