MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Complete Symphonies
Symphony No.1 in B flat Op.38 Spring (1841) [33:04]
Symphony No.2 in C Op.61 (1846) [33:42]
Symphony No.3 in E flat Op.97 Rhenish (1850) [33:38]
Symphony No.4 in D minor Op.120 (1841) [32:31]
Wiener Philharmoniker/Riccardo Muti
rec. May, Oct 1993, Oct 1995, Großer Saal, Musikverein, Wien
NEWTON CLASSICS 8802081 [65:44 + 72:53]

Experience Classicsonline

This is Riccardo Muti’s second recorded cycle of the Schumann symphonies. Newton here give them new life. The last time they appeared, after first issue in the mid-1990s, was on an inexpensive Philips Duo (4685432) in 2001. The first Muti cycle was made for EMI Classics in 1976-78 in Studio 1, Abbey Road except for the two rare overtures (Hermann und Dorothea and Die Braut von Messina) which were set down in the Kingsway Hall. No sign of the overtures for the 1990s set. Looking only at the four symphonies here are the timings of the EMI recordings: No. 1 [33:48], No. 2 [36:41], No. 3 [35:47], No. 4 [31:53].

The signature of Muti’s Vienna cycle is that of a V12 power unit driven sleek, fast and smooth. His orchestra is a superlative outfit with a string section of seemingly invincible capabilities. Details are deeply etched and attentively italicised. The sound is uniform and exemplary. That said, it’s all too chromium-steel even by comparison with Muti’s own 1970s self. There’s no doubting the awe-struck excitement but the yielding humanity is pushed back to the distant stalls. I spent quite a bit of time with the second CD (2 and 3 ). These two symphonies are the ones I listen to for pleasure. However it’s as if this No. 2 is in autopilot. It left me completely unmoved. The experience just flowed over my ears. Nothing remained when it was over. The Third was different, I grant you. It is excitingly done but the poetic movements went for very little. The finale however I had to play several times. It has the zesty spinal buzz of a top of the range Mercedes S Class driven very fast indeed – at least if you can believe Jeremy Clarkson. Muti lays bare the leonine power of the music. Even so, the Vienna horns are too discreetly placed and have a bludgeoning iron roar rather than an imperious brazen-golden bloom.

This is certainly a set worth hearing for an encounter with an exultantly driven elite orchestra. However that’s only a part of the picture. If you want that part mapped onto Schumann’s four symphonies then go for this but it would not be anywhere near the top of my choices. Muti’s EMI set is to be preferred on this occasion. Better still go for Barenboim (Teldec), Beermann (CPO), Sawallisch (EMI), Vonk (EMI) or Kubelik (Sony or Eloquence). If you are tolerant of older sound then don’t overlook Boult (First Hand) or Konwitschny (Berlin Classics). The fluently literate and accessible notes are by Anthony Burton (also in German and French).

Rob Barnett


















Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.