Catherine Collard, who passed away on 10 October 1993 at the age of 46, was a shooting star in the French piano firmament, respected by all her fellow musicians.
Catherine Collard, who passed away on 10 October 1993 at the age of 46, was a shooting star in the French piano firmament, respected by all her fellow musicians. Music critics admired this fiery temperament that blossomed with marvellous naturalness in the universe of a Robert Schumann and still go into raptures over the inventiveness of sound and the feverish poetry that imbue her Debussy. These highly regarded Schumann recordings, by a Catherine Collard in her thirties at the time, are bathed in a radiant intimacy, wreathed in phrasings that are often magical, beginning with a version of the Kinderszenen of immaculate purity. 'Der Dichter spricht' (The Poet Speaks), the final piece, rarely has this interrogative, uncertain nature, whereas 'Kind im Einschlummern' (When the Child Falls Asleep) marvellously captures this heightened sensitivity that gives the piece its poignant character – its final chord accentuated with a chilling E. At the centre of the cycle, 'Träumerei', in full simplicity, is already conceived as an ode to poetry. As for the livelier pieces such as 'Hasche-Mann' or 'Am Kamin', they distil a fraternal gentleness reminiscent of Schubert and his Liedersänger art.
Although the LP recorded in 1978 suffers from somewhat muffled sound, especially for the complex Romances, Op. 28, Catherine Collard offers a remarkably flowing interpretation of the Arabeske, without the slightest expressive hesitation. The Romances, Op. 28, like Papillons, Op. 2, attest more to her inflexible musical standards; these Schumann interpretations also have their implacable accents and mad blackness that sometimes recall hard-line pianists such as Vladimir Sofronitzsky or Samuel Feinberg.