While organists are certainly well acquainted with Schumann’s Pedal Piano [Pedalflügel] pieces as performed on the organ, this recording addresses curiosity concerning the composer’s intended sounds. Martin Schmeding plays a Pleyel grand piano nearly identical to the last Pleyel owned by Chopin, though numbered somewhat earlier. After being found in a brothel in Waterloo, the instrument has been restored sympathetically. The grand is heard with a separate pedal piano built by Pleyel around 1890. The pedal piano is horizontally constructed and equipped with an organ bench. It does not seem to boast a similar provenance to the grand. The booklet that accompanies this SACD recording has engaging articles related to the work of Schumann, as well as fine discussions and photos of the instruments used.
Martin Schmeding succeeds Zsigmond Szathmary as professor of organ at the Conservatory in Freiburg and is organist of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden.