Schumann

93 posts / 0 new
Last post
Since the above I have

Since the above I have continued my Schumann-fest with Symphony No.3 (Sawallisch on Spotify), the Piano Concerto Op54, Requiem Op 148, and Requiem for Mignon - only the last failed to impress me a lot.  The dying moments of the Requiem I thought sublime.  The version I have is Georg Grun/ Deutsche Radio Phil on Hanssler Classic.  Now for his chamber works.

 

I have listened to David Zinman's No.1 and was very impressed.  He caught my eye (ear) with his Beethoven 2, featured in Gramophone's article on the Symphonies this month.  He does seem to bring a lively freshness somehow, to my ears at least. I am tempted to send for both his Beethoven and Schumann Symphony sets.  Any thoughts on Zinman's Schumann?

Genoveva

 

There was part of Schumann's only opera on Radio3 a few months back. Though clearly not in the same class as Tristan it still seemed worthy of further exploration. I hope that Opera North might give it a go in the near future.

 

DSM

Zinman's Schumann

It depends on what you're looking for, Vic. Zinman is rather on the fast track but precise and exciting (due to his energetic pace). However, it does not seem to go that deep into the very idiomatic language of the orchestral writing of Schumann and his Orchestra is not the best one can expect, particulalry for such a composer.

I thought you opted for Sawallisch with his glorious Dresden Orchestra. For a more linear, lean Schumann, I will prefer P. Jarvi, on RCA, or Dausgaard, on BIS. However, on the other side of the spectrum, for a very strong, massive Schumann, try Bernstein with VPO in glorious form (I guess Spotify should have it). The no.2 and 4 are a true force of Music. Of course, there are plenty of other options, anyway.

For Chamber Music, let us know from where you start. There, you can find some of his most amazing and monumental works he composed.

Parla

Schumann

Zinman's makeover from his Baltimore days is interesting.

Perhaps the Americans have lower speed limits

parla wrote:

parla wrote:

It depends on what you're looking for, Vic. Zinman is rather on the fast track but precise and exciting (due to his energetic pace). However, it does not seem to go that deep into the very idiomatic language of the orchestral writing of Schumann.......

Parla

If often wonder if this business of getting into the "depths" of a composer's "idiom" isn't simply a way one school of thought puts down another. One school comes along and establishes a conventional or traditional way of approaching the music. Then, twenty years later, another comes along and does things differently. Those who prefer the first school then criticise the second on the ground it is "superficial" or lacking in "depth" and so on. That, in any case, seems to be a standard charge when contemporary conductors take a historically informed look at the Romantic repertoire. Very crisp and finely detailed and so on........but a bit lacking in depth

But who is to say what depth is here? Or what is the "right" way of approaching a composer? 

Good point, Jane. And A

Good point, Jane. And A reminder that JEG's cycle includes both versions of 4 and much else besides. Parla might find it lacking in depth, but it brings much that 'old-fashioned' readings do not.

VicJayL wrote:

VicJayL wrote:

 

I have listened to David Zinman's No.1 and was very impressed.  He caught my eye (ear) with his Beethoven 2, featured in Gramophone's article on the Symphonies this month.  He does seem to bring a lively freshness somehow, to my ears at least. I am tempted to send for both his Beethoven and Schumann Symphony sets.  Any thoughts on Zinman's Schumann?

 

Rather po-faced I find, Vic, but then after 30-odd years of listening to the Karajan set, how could I find otherwise? 

It has become fashionable to slag the Karajan performances. These things go in cycles. Because he revels in the composer's thick orchestration instead of trying to spare it down, his readings have become out of synch with today's taste. For me, Zinman's quasi-period approach throws the baby out with the bathwater.

Zinman's Schumann in Baltimore.

The Schumann's Symphonies with Zinman and the Baltimore S.O. (in bright recordings on Telarc) were more convincing and with a more ample orchestral sound, not that refined as their Zurich counterpart though.

Parla

Old and new, refine or heavy etc.

In a way, you are right, Jane. There are some kind of "schools" as for the way a composer's work has to be performed. The "idiom" is basically dictated by the score itself. If a composer has very clear lines of every single voice and an orchestration of classical proportion (strings, pair of winds and two trumpets plus occasionally timpani) a more lean of smaller proportion orchestra will do and an interpretation which gives emphasis in the details of each line would be convincing enough.

However, Schumann, although he uses the traditional orchestral forces of his period (not that extraordinarily heavy), the clarity of line is not his big asset. On the contrary, the "thick" writing, the use of winds (and brass often) contribute to th overall picture more substantially than before. With the exception of some recent reviews, most of the renowned recordings come from the so called old school and from the full big orchestras (Dresden, BPO, VPO etc.).

Even today, despite the good efforts of some conductors and good orchestras, there are recordings of the more traditiona way (e.g. Luisi on Orfeo, Beermann on CPO, Scrowaczewski on Oehms, Markl on Exton) and in live performances (Chailly in Leipzig).

As a good effort to respect Schumann's original orchestration and a refine way to approach these Symphonies, I find Harnouncourt, P. Jarvi and Dausgaard have done a very good job with convincing results (the last two with very bright recordings too). Dausgaard has recorded both version of the Fourth as well plus most of the Overtures, etc. (on BIS).

Finally, Sawallisch has recorded the final version of the Fourth in a brilliant recording, much later than the original EMI recordings (1972), with the Bavarian forces, on Farao (in SACD) along with Barber's Symphony no.1.

Sponser

You would be a great advocate for sponsoring Opera North.
I do bet you a bottle of fine wine that your suggestion is not going to happen.
It's hardly on any company's repertoire.
Not even Amsterdam or Brussels who are know for "rare " repertoire .

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019