Schumann: Choral Works

Schumann: Choral Works

by Wolfgang Sawallisch
     
 
Schumann's solo piano music has had plenty of advocates, his solo vocal music has had lots of advocates, his orchestral music has had enough advocates, and even his infrequently played chamber music has had a sufficient number of advocates to keep it in the fringes of the standard repertoire. But Schumann's choral music -- forget about it!

Overview

Schumann's solo piano music has had plenty of advocates, his solo vocal music has had lots of advocates, his orchestral music has had enough advocates, and even his infrequently played chamber music has had a sufficient number of advocates to keep it in the fringes of the standard repertoire. But Schumann's choral music -- forget about it! Schumann's choral music is so rarely recorded that even the composer's most dedicated fans will have never heard most of it. So, for Schumann fans, this two-disc set of his choral music will be a blessing. Unfortunately, it will be a mixed blessing. It won't be the fault of the choice of repertoire. With the monumentally devout "Mass," the nobly mournful "Requiem," the heartbreakingly sorrowful "Requiem für Mignon," and the wonderfully romantic and mellifluously titled "Der Rose Pilgerfahrt," all four of his most important choral works are represented. It won't be the fault of the choice of choir. With the strong, sensitive, and soulful Chor des Städtischen Musikvereins zu Düsseldorf directed by Helmut Schmidt, Schumann's sometimes heavy choral writing is given its best chance for success. For the most part, it won't be the fault of the choice of solo singers. With the sweet soprano Helen Donath, the heroic tenor Nicolai Gedda, and the unstoppable baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, most of the solo singers are as good as it gets, and even the less than stellar solo singers are usually more than respectable. And it won't be entirely the fault of the choice of conductors. Wolfgang Sawallisch leads a more than acceptable "Mass" and Bernhard Klee leads a more than competent "Requiem" and "Requiem für Mignon," while Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads an adequate but not especially persuasive "Der Rose Pilgerfahrt." Taken all together, however, the sometimes less than stellar singing and the often no more than adequate conducting means that, for all its merits, this set may do no more than convince the already converted. Still, for Schumann fans, this set will be mandatory listening. EMI's late stereo and early digital sound is likewise a mixed blessing: warm and deep in the stereo recordings and cool and shallow in the digital recordings.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/02/2006
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0094635090024
catalogNumber:
50900

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, for soloists, chorus, horn & orchestra, Op. 112
  2. Requiem für Mignon, for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 98b
  3. Mass for soloists, chorus & orchestra in C minor, Op. 147
  4. Requiem, for chorus & orchestra, Op. 148

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