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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 3 Rhenish (1850) [33:15]
Overture, Scherzo and Finale (1841 rev. 1845) [17:59]
Symphonic Studies: Adagio and Allegro brillante (orch. Tchaikovsky) [8:04]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Dirk Joeres
rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, London, December 1999 (Symphony); Air Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London, January 1995 (Overture, Scherzo and Finale); Watford Town Hall, England, June 2003 (Symphonic Studies). DDD
HÉRITAGE HTGCD 272 [60:00]

Joeres has not yet had the opportunity to record a complete Schumann cycle but there is a Second Symphony with the same orchestra on BIS-CD-1055. This too comes with some rare orchestrations of Schumann piano pieces. I hope that Joeres is not in the position of certain other conductors - the late Frank Shipway (1935-2014) for one - who for one reason or another were never given the chance fully to spread their wings on record. He has something fresh and nutritious to say. If this happens then in years to come I see the then record companies trawling the world's radio stations for Joeres broadcasts in much the same way that they now do for those of Sergiu Celibidache. Joeres recorded the Brahms Serenades in 1992 and you can hear them on Alto. It's a CD well worth the effort in tracking down but you will look for a Brahms symphony cycle in vain.

What of the current CD? Well, this is a Rhenish to get you hot under the collar. This is not a case of outrage; rather a reaction to the sheer visceral voltage Joeres extracts. His is an unreconstructed romantic lean-meat hothouse reading. It is worthy to be counted alongside Carlos Kleiber's DG Beethoven Fifth Symphony and Solti's Elgar 2. It is easy to spend superlatives on Joeres' indomitable leaping dynamics but he does not neglect the more pulse-calming writing as in the pastoral idylls of Nicht schnell and the dark-clouded Feierlich, itself redolent of Brahms' Tragic Overture. After the Symphony comes an equally edgy and Manfred-style Overture, Scherzo and Finale. This too has no truck with routine baton-waving. There's as much gallop, surge, spring, resilience and solar plexus impact as in the Symphony. The RPO horns revel in their opportunities which come especially in the outer movements of the Rhenish as well as in the Symphony's Scherzo. They register in satisfying focus without being drenched in Hollywood spotlighting. The Finale of the tripartite work is a classic example of Schumann in his irresistible regal style. The novelty here is Tchaikovsky's striking 1864 student exercise to orchestrate two movements from Schumann's Etudes Symphoniques: Adagio and Allegro brillante. Shame he didn't get to the rest; the title calls out for it. The Russian master's hand is indelible with the wind instrument writing in the Adagio being unmistakable. The Allegro brillante is more rowdy, even bombastic. Again there are pleasures to be had in the distinctive woodwind orchestration and chattering passage-work.

This CD was previously issued as Regis RRC 1237 in which form it was reviewed by Ian Lace.

The capable liner-note on this occasion is in English only and is by Jürgen Ostmann. The biographical note is useful; just a shame about the typo on Arrau's first name.

Not sure why Heritage - who have done a lot of highly desirable reissue work that is well worth chasing down - have attracted an acute accent for this issue which becomes Héritage.

More recently Joeres as pianist has recorded three freshly conceived and executed recital anthologies. These have been issued by the admirable Heritage: Brahms and Friends HTGCD 252 and Schumann and Friends HTGCD 262 alongside his Waltzes on HTGCD 258. Nor should we leave out of the account his Musical Concepts CD of Brahms and Schenker.

Now if Heritage could license the Joeres Bis CD of the Second Symphony and produce a disc of Schumann Symphonies 1 and 4 that would be well worth the effort.

One crib: it would have been so much better if the individual work and total timings had been given on the exterior of the sealed case. No need for such coyness when you have a disc with this much going for it.

Rob Barnett

Masterwork Index: Symphony 3