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James Levine with the Philadelphia Orchestra is a great set (self recommending as far as I'm concerned). But my absolute favorite is Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin (Teldec). The playing is nicely old-schooled yet fresh and Barenboim's phasings strike me as perfectly ideal: volatile and with plenty of impetus and poetry (befitting Schumann's personality very well indeed). I'll check out the Muti/VPO someone here mentioned (with many thanks by the way).
David A. Hollingsworth
I'm not sure what Shamira thinks but I would suggest ALL the reasons you give.
I think that one of the reasons for the "old-style" approach is to deal with the various perceptions about Schumann's orchestration. Personally speaking I like Schumann's orchestral style - I like to hear it nice and thick with a big (Holywood?) sound.
If he were alive today, he would no doubt be on the short list of composers pencilled in for the next Jane Austen adaptation!
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