Notes and Editorial Reviews
There are lots of wonderful Schumann symphony recordings out there. The reference recordings above are some of the classics, but it's easy to imagine more recent versions by David Zinman or Daniel Barenboim added to the list. This newcomer certainly belongs among the best. Michael Gielen has a real point of view in this music, one that arises naturally out of Schumann's expressive message. Textures are light, never heavy--not quite so much as in Zinman's performances, but always enlivened by careful attention to rhythm. This is particularly evident in the finale of the Second symphony and in the first movement of the Third, where characterful articulation in the strings brings the music to life. It
allows Gielen to play the Adagio of the Second slowly, but at a tempo that never drags.
Dynamics receive equally distinctive treatment. Consider the finale of the "Rhenish"--a touch of extra softness at the very start permits the main theme to erupt with even greater joy than usual. Gielen exploits every opportunity Schumann offers to create touches of color in the woodwind section (the scherzo of the Second), and where the orchestration turns to mud (first movement of the "Rhenish") Gielen isn't afraid to adjust it accordingly. But it's all done with real taste and understanding. The horn call toward the end of the same movement starts with stopped tones and continues piano--often it's blasted out as loudly as possible. The result is unfailingly poetic even if the Urtext score has an unvarying forte here. Great sound too. A wonderful disc.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 2 in C major, Op. 61 by Robert Schumann
Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1845-1846; Germany
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