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Schumann: The Symphonies
     

Schumann: The Symphonies

by Daniel Barenboim
 
Like Daniel Barenboim's recent traversal of the nine Beethoven symphonies, these traditionally minded performances of Schumann's four eschew notions of historical performance practice. In fact, Barenboim's interpretive approach to Schumann seems to anticipate the hearty textures of Brahms and the dramatic flexibility of Wagner, while

Overview

Like Daniel Barenboim's recent traversal of the nine Beethoven symphonies, these traditionally minded performances of Schumann's four eschew notions of historical performance practice. In fact, Barenboim's interpretive approach to Schumann seems to anticipate the hearty textures of Brahms and the dramatic flexibility of Wagner, while at the same time he looks back half a century or so to the near-mystical manner of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, and other legendary maestros. Yet these are far from staid and comfortable readings. Turn to the opening of the "Rhenish" Symphony (No. 3), for example, and it's immediately clear that the exhilaration of the music making is out of the ordinary -- the opening phrase is like an invigorating splash from the Rhine itself. What's particularly remarkable is how Barenboim sustains that level of intensity throughout the movement while still allowing the tempo to ebb and flow with utter naturalness. The Berlin State Orchestra proves itself to be among the world's finest, too, playing with graciousness, refinement, tenderness, muscularity, and a burnished tone. This wide range of color and emotion aids Barenboim in giving each symphony its own individual character -- the "Spring" (No. 1) is fresh and buoyant, the Second is exceptionally warm with a deeply felt Adagio, the "Rhenish" surges and swells, and the Fourth is dark and full of touching vulnerability. With superb sound quality, this is a Schumann set to cherish.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Anne Midgette
The recording demonstrates that this German orchestra, at least, does indeed have a different feeling for German music: there's a certain elasticity, a mellow color and a sense of a more intimate scale.
The New Yorker - Russell Platt
Passionate, hard-driving, and committed performances.
American Record Guide - Stephen D. Chawkin, Jr.
Although the competition in Schumann symphonies is abundant...this newcomer is very welcome. For a start, it is beautifully recorded and played warmly and energetically by the Staatskapelle.... Barenboim's handling of the Adagio of No. 2 is a perfect demonstration of how great Schumann playing can bring a movement to life.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2004
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0825646117925
catalogNumber:
61179
Rank:
190573

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 1 in B flat major ("Spring"), Op. 38
  2. Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61
  3. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ("Rhenish"), Op. 97
  4. Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

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