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Robert Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4


Release Date: 08/31/2010 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777536-2   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The cpo release is supposedly after the urtext of the new Schumann symphony edition by Joachim Draheim. I know that he has edited a lot of the composer’s music, though the notes strangely omit any mention of the specifics here, and a Web search failed to lead to anything productive or informative. Interpretative latitude is so wide in Schumann anyway that it is tough to discern what things may be the result of conductorial nuance as opposed to actual changes in any one edition.

But to cut to the chase, these performances are well-nigh outstanding in every respect, surely the finest SACD version to hit my player, and extremely competitive with all comers. It doesn’t kick off the field the Bernstein DVD set that made my
Read more 2009 Want List, nor does it displace Bernstein’s Sony recordings, or Szell, or Barenboim, to name just three of the best. The BIS Dausgaard series is still excellent but not as mainstream as this one. The Robert Schumann Philharmonic, an orchestra that grew out of the City Orchestra of Chemnitz (founded in 1833), plays these pieces with furious abandon, and sports just the right Schumann sound—not too slick, a little edgy in the brass, and full of colorful woodwinds.

The always problematic No. 4 comes off wonderfully here, as well as I have heard in Schumann’s final edition, thankfully. No. 2’s slow movement is slightly underpowered in the strings, though everywhere else that section proves itself capable of some stunning power; I can only assume that this was a conductor’s choice to de-emphasize the big melody. Bernstein would certainly have none of this, nor Barenboim, rightly so, and it is a bit of a letdown; yet the rest of the symphony sings like the Cherubim in all respects. No. 1 is suitably “spring-like” (though the composer admitted that those associations were all imagined after the work was written, with the exception of the last movement), tempo relations perfectly judged in all instances. No. 3 is downright thrilling—even the fourth movement, “Cologne Cathedral” (so-called), which so perplexed Clara and was considered rather avant-garde in its time, fits into conductor Beermann’s scheme like the final twist of a winning Rubik’s cube, and I detect no inherent weaknesses in this interpretation at all. Superb, and easily recommended, the SACD sound brilliantly dispersed."

FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 "Spring" by Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche Dresden 
Length: 31 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2. Symphony no 2 in C major, Op. 61 by Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche Dresden 
Length: 32 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3. Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 "Rhenish" by Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche Dresden 
Length: 28 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4. Symphony no 4 in D minor, Op. 120 by Robert Schumann
Conductor:  Frank Beermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Germany 
Venue:  Lukaskirche Dresden 
Length: 27 Minutes 8 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38, "Spring": I. Andante un poco maestoso - Allegro molto vivace
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38, "Spring": II. Larghetto
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38, "Spring": III. Scherzo: Molto vivace
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38, "Spring": IV. Allegro animato e grazioso
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61: I. Sostenuto assai - Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61: II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61: III. Adagio espressivo
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61: IV. Allegro molto vivace
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, "Rhenish": I. Lebhaft
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, "Rhenish": II. Scherzo: Sehr massig
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, "Rhenish": III. Nicht schnell
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, "Rhenish": IV. Feierlich
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, "Rhenish": V. Lebhaft
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (revised version, 1851): I. Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (revised version, 1851): II. Romanze: Ziemlich langsam
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (revised version, 1851): III. Scherzo: Lebhaft
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (revised version, 1851): IV. Langsam - Lebhaft

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