Jimin Oh-Havenith - For Clara

Remy Frank, pizzicato, 03.03.2023

Promising start to a new Schumann series

With this recording, Audite starts a series of three CDs with Jimin Oh-Havenith.

Schumann’s 1st Piano Sonata op. 11 was written in the years 1832-1836 and is dedicated to his later wife Clara. Jimin Oh-Havenith plays it with a mixture of spontaneity and structural superiority that from the first notes of the first movement one is fully immersed in the music and takes an eventful musical journey. There is no consciously displayed sentimentality in the Aria and thus, the second movement passes as a moment of great happiness. In the last two movements, where critics have made out monumentality, irony, and other things, Oh-Havenith’s excitement is very simple, imaginative, pure, fresh, and with immense clarity of performance.

Schumann originally intended to publish his Fantasie op. 17 under the title ‘Great Sonata of Florestan and Eusebius’, the three movements to be titled ‘Ruins’, ‘Trophies’ and ‘Palms’. The Fantasy was also once intended as a tribute to Beethoven. And the first movement, “perhaps the most passionate I have ever written”, is considered a message to Clara. So the music requires the typically romantic breath which this interpretation by Jimin Oh-Havenith definitely has. Yet her playing remains free of extravagances and sounds very spontaneous. Nothing seems overloaded, and this is especially good for the very poetically formulated slow final movement, which is moving in its simplicity. In addition, there is a crystal-clear clarity.

This is a promising start to this new Schumann series.