One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Founding Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

/


Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)


Scherber Symphony 2
SPECIAL OFFER £10


Respighi Piano Music
SPECIAL OFFER £10


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op.38 Spring (1841) [30:17]
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op.61 (1845-6) [34:56]
Fuge überden Namen BACH, Op.60 No.6 (1845) [7:23]
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op.97 Rhenish (1850) [31:26]
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op.120 (1841) [23:09]
Symphony in G minor, WoO 29 Zwickau (1829, incomplete) [17:32]
Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/Michael Schønwandt
rec. 16-20 April 2012 (1, 4), 5-9 June 2012 (2, 3); 20-23 August 2012 (Zwickau, Fuge), Studio 1, Muziekcentrum van de Omroep, Hilversum (NL)
CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72553 [73:30 + 72:25] 

Having been brought up with the Klemperer version of Schumann’s four symphonies, I later discovered those by Sawallisch and Kubelik. These seemed to satisfy my needs until last year when I acquired the John Eliot Gardner cycle which opened up a completely new and exciting sound-world. Needless to say this has been the version that I have since been living with and it has replaced all the others. This new version from the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic under the direction of Michael Schønwandt is very much in a similar vein.
 
These performances definitely make you sit up and take notice. When I started to listen to the opening track of CD 1 and the first movement of the Spring, I was immediately struck by a brisk, energetic approach to the Allegro molto vivace, which follows the introduction. There is so much light and air. The string tone is luscious and warm and the beautiful woodwind passages emerge with crystalline clarity. Many in the past have complained that Schumann scored these works too heavily. Schønwandt is able to achieve a transparency and lightness, bringing out all the colours of the orchestra.
 
I particularly enjoyed the adagio third movement of the Second Symphony. This can, in some performances, degenerate into sickly, over-sentimentality. Here it is contained and reined-in. Again the beautiful woodwind passages are exemplary. Similarly. the opening movement of the Rhenish is not too heavy or grandiose. By comparison Klemperer is almost Brucknerian. Schønwandt employs brisker tempi, and in the second movement you feel carried along, transported on air, such is the grace and warmth of what we hear. Rhythmic incisiveness characterizes the last two movements of the Fourth Symphony.
 
These performances are a pleasure to listen to. Everything seems just right - tempi, phrasing and dynamics. Gripping, thrilling and invigorating are adjectives which come to mind. It is good to have the early ‘incomplete’ G minor symphony, which is not always included in all sets. Likewise the Fuge überden Namen BACH, Op.60 No.6, a work completely new to me, is a welcome addition, though I would have preferred the Manfred Overture. The Muziekcentrum van de Omroep, Hilversum (NL), Studio 1 provides an ideal acoustic.
 
If you have had any doubts about Schumann’s symphonies, give these a try. You certainly won’t be disappointed.
 
Stephen Greenbank
 
Masterwork Index: Schumann symphonies