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Schumann: Concertos (Complete) / Masur, Ricci, Frankl, Et Al

Release Date: 06/29/2004 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 92277   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Performer:  Julius BergerHansheinz SchneebergerFrancis OrvalFrançois Tommasini,   ... 
Conductor:  Florian MerzPierre CaoArie Van BeekKurt Masur,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  South Westphalia PhilharmonicLuxembourg Radio/Television Symphony OrchestraNorthwest German Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 27 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Brilliant Classics clearly put some calculated thought into their breathless programme of releases. This is the only collection of the complete Schumann concertante works in the catalogue. As such it has real attractions and complements the listener's favoured set of Schumann symphonies whether it be Kubelik (DG or Sony), Sawallisch (EMI), Vonk (EMI), Marriner (Brilliant) or most recently and imposingly, Barenboim (Warner).

To assemble the complete concertante works on two CDs Brilliant have obtained licences from both Bayer and Vox. The German Bayer catalogue is nowhere near as well known as the Vox. While the Vox tapes have been issued time after time under various banners, Bayer have kept themselves to themselves. This is a
Read more pity as there is much in the Bayer list that might well be of interest including a complete Reger and Pfitzner chamber music (on the Da Camera Magna satellite) and Rachmaninov orchestral music the latter with the Bohuslav Martin? Philharmonic Orchestra. I wonder if those series might possibly be in Brilliant Classics' long-range reissue roster. I hope so.

To the Schumann ....

The Cello Concerto responds well to Berger's soulfully dug-in style as well as to his sympathy with introspection. Merz's rather four-square angular approach to the orchestral part is accentuated by the recording quality which gives a startling and pleasing presence to the brass. Presumably the recording faithfully renders the resonance of the Schuetzenhalle at Hilchenbach.

Merz and his orchestra seem less than fluent at the start of the Violin Concerto with its Beethovenian rainclouds and contrasts. Schneeberger digs deep into the solo part. Some bull-in-a-china-shop defiance contrasts with the magical end of movement transition (tr 5 into 6). This work is seriously marred by a repeat and break between movements. Overall the playing is full of effort when it should ‘fly’. Not recommendable.

I have long loved the Konzertstück. It is a work that shouts exuberance and I love the gold, amber, sharkskin tone and texture of the French Horn. Despite being very much older than the two concerto sessions, the 1970s analogue sound is pretty respectable. Hiss is not an issue. Some great stereo separation is achieved. The horn quartet acquit themselves with the right blend of boisterousness and poetry. After you have come away from Schumann's Second and Third Symphonies with a real appetite for the horn-lofted glories of Schumann's writing this should be your next stop. The Luxembourg Orchestra and Pierre Cao were practised and confident hands and this certainly shows. Without being in the luxury class they produce a resolutely enjoyable performance and sound.

It will be interesting to read what other reviewers make of Klara Würtz's version of the Piano Concerto. It benefits from 1990s quality recording and also a much more accomplished account of the orchestral contribution than was managed for the Violin Concerto. The sound is generous beside the slight asperity of the Concertstück sound-image. Others have made more crystalline magic of the little foreword to the allegro vivace finale but Würtz certainly tucks into the triumphal bravura writing that follows. I liked the quoted Tovey description of the music - recklessly pretty! If the champagne seems to lose its maximum effervescence in the finale the performance overall is very pleasing indeed if not stunning. I rather like the Serkin version on Sony or the Kovacevich on Philips.

The Fantasie goes well with Ricci with the Gewandhaus and the pre-New York Phil Kurt Masur and Frankl’s accustomed integrity and poetry serve the two Introduction and Allegros well.

These two discs are packed tight with music. The collection has the attraction of completeness even if there are rough edges most prominently in the Violin Concerto. The notes, in English-only, are good and detailed for each work. A pity that the dates of the Vox-sourced recording sessions are not offered up. Quite a bargain.

– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Julius Berger (Cello), Julius Berger (Cello)
Conductor:  Florian Merz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  South Westphalia Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  Schütz Hall, Hilchenbach, Germany 
Length: 21 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin in D minor by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Hansheinz Schneeberger (Violin)
Conductor:  Florian Merz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  South Westphalia Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  Schütz Hall, Hilchenbach, Germany 
Length: 33 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Concertstück for 4 Horns and Orchestra in F major, Op. 86 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Francis Orval (French Horn), François Tommasini (French Horn), Robert Desprez (French Horn),
Robert Janssens (French Horn)
Conductor:  Pierre Cao
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Conductor:  Arie Van Beek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
Length: 30 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Fantasie for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 131 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Ruggiero Ricci (Violin)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Introduction and Allegro appassionato for Piano and Orchestra in G major, Op. 92 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Peter Frankl (Piano)
Conductor:  Janos Fürst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Introduction and Allegro for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 134 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Peter Frankl (Piano)
Conductor:  Janos Fürst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 59 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Great collection April 26, 2013 By J. Trimpey (Placerville, CA) See All My Reviews "This gives me a much better appreciation for the works of Schumann, a composer who can be difficult to connect with at first. In fact, he's now way up on my list of favorite composers." Report Abuse
 Cornerstone July 14, 2012 By Anthony G. (SANTA FE, NM) See All My Reviews " This recording, masterfully played, interpreted, and assembled, would be the cornerstone to any music lover who is passionate about Romantic music. This is doubtless an essential collection to own. " Report Abuse
 Good Performances June 29, 2012 By M. Bishop (Clackamas, OR) See All My Reviews "I already have the complete symphonies of Schumann, so purchasing this album seemed to be the next best alternative, and I'm glad I did. Having playing the French horn with an ensemble during my high school days, I was particularly impressed with the Konzertstuck in F for 4 Horns. The playing was done well. I highly recommend this album to anyone in seeking to acquire a complete picture of Schumann's rightful place in the musical catalogue." Report Abuse
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