Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

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Jared
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Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:04 pm

Here is a very simple question, which I'd like your help with.

I would like to invest in another set of Schumann Symphonies, OUT OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN ONLY!

* Staatskapelle Dresden/ Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI)
* Wiener Philharmoniker/ Georg Solti (Decca)
* Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/ Neville Marriner (Brilliant)
* Philharmonia Orchestra of London/ Riccardo Muti (EMI)
* Cleveland Orchestra/ Georges Szell (CBS)
* Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ David Zinman (Arte Nova)
* Berlin Philharmoniker/ Raphael Kubelik (DG)

I have a personal frontrunner in my mind, but could possibly be persuaded to the contrary by reasoned argument, so I'll be most interested to read your thoughts... :D

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Fergus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:25 pm

I have both the Sawallisch and Solti cycles and I would prefer the Solti :wink:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:29 pm

Fergus wrote:I have both the Sawallisch and Solti cycles and I would prefer the Solti :wink:
any reason why, Fergus?

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Donaldopato » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:40 pm

I am not big on Schumann, but the Szell/Cleveland set is highly regarded and is the one I have.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Fergus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:51 pm

The first thing that one notices is the different sound from the two orchestras. If you like your Romantic music to be bold, powerful and very up front then you will really like Sawallisch. If, on the other hand, you want a little more grace and sophistication (but with no loss of emphasis) then Solti is your man. For me, Solti’s sound is much more transparent with a greater dynamic spread than Sawallisch whose sound is more uniform.
Another very noticeable aspect of the Solti readings is the sound of the brass; Solti has much more bite.
Do not get me wrong, I really like the Sawallish cycle very much; they are really good readings. It comes down to how you like your music presented and in this case Solti has the edge for me.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:59 pm

Donaldopato wrote:I am not big on Schumann, but the Szell/Cleveland set is highly regarded and is the one I have.
ditto...not a Schumann nut (though I do like some of his work), but Szell does what he can to keep things together - let's face it, Schumann's symphonic output is of relatively mediocre construction - but you wouldn't know it the way Szell conducts it. Cleveland's lean sound additionally helps clarify some of Schumann's muddy orchestration.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:02 pm

Sawallisch is my choice on EMi. 8)
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by ravel30 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:12 pm

Jared wrote:Here is a very simple question, which I'd like your help with.

I would like to invest in another set of Schumann Symphonies, OUT OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN ONLY!

* Staatskapelle Dresden/ Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI)
* Wiener Philharmoniker/ Georg Solti (Decca)
* Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/ Neville Marriner (Brilliant)
* Philharmonia Orchestra of London/ Riccardo Muti (EMI)
* Cleveland Orchestra/ Georges Szell (CBS)
* Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ David Zinman (Arte Nova)
* Berlin Philharmoniker/ Raphael Kubelik (DG)

I have a personal frontrunner in my mind, but could possibly be persuaded to the contrary by reasoned argument, so I'll be most interested to read your thoughts... :D
Hi Jared,

Finally, a thread where I can help. I only have the Solti/Wiener/Decca version and absolutely love it. However, Ken, who I consider an expert on Schumann, highly rate the Sawallisch/EMI and Dohnayi/Decca. The Sawallisch is currently at the top of my wishlist :D .

There are several reasons why I like the Solti a lot. For some reasons, the four cds that I have that contains music conducted by Solti are all superb performances. And they all have something in common that I like a lot: The brass section is very loud (louder than normal, say). And for the Schumann symphonies, I think that they is simply awesome 8)

That was my 2 cents.

Matt.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:18 pm

thanks so far everyone, for your help... I will continue to read with great interest, tomorrow.. 8)

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Heck148 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:34 pm

Jared wrote:Here is a very simple question, which I'd like your help with.

I would like to invest in another set of Schumann Symphonies, OUT OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN ONLY!

* Staatskapelle Dresden/ Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI)
* Wiener Philharmoniker/ Georg Solti (Decca)
* Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/ Neville Marriner (Brilliant)
* Philharmonia Orchestra of London/ Riccardo Muti (EMI)
* Cleveland Orchestra/ Georges Szell (CBS)
* Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ David Zinman (Arte Nova)
* Berlin Philharmoniker/ Raphael Kubelik (DG)
>>

Solti or Szell, both very good, but not the best -
those are:

Bernstein/NYPO
Barenboim/CSO
[his first complete set on DG]

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by gfweis » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:37 pm

Regarding complete sets, this is tough, because you list both the Szell and the Kubelik. The Sawallisch is, overall, truly excellent (big hall reverberant acoustic, though), but the Kubelik 2 & 3 are simply the best (however, the cd that had only those symphonies on it has been deep-sixed). On the other hand, one simply can't go without the Szell. If I may be so presumptuous, the answer: buy the Kubelik/BPO 1-4 new for $10.64 from an amazon seller, and the Szell 1-4 "like new" from an amazon seller for $10.99. These are holdings for life. Paray and Lenny/NYP, especially the latter, are in the wings waiting for you to put them on your list if you don't have them. BTW, there's a sleeper you should know about: Hans Vonk/Koelner Rundfunk---he has a real feel for this music.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Seán » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:03 pm

I really enjoy the Sawallisch set and I love the Chailly Mahler edition set too:

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Where Jack and Ken when you need them? :D
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Chung » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:15 pm

Jared wrote:Here is a very simple question, which I'd like your help with.

I would like to invest in another set of Schumann Symphonies, OUT OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN ONLY!

* Staatskapelle Dresden/ Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI)
* Wiener Philharmoniker/ Georg Solti (Decca)
* Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/ Neville Marriner (Brilliant)
* Philharmonia Orchestra of London/ Riccardo Muti (EMI)
* Cleveland Orchestra/ Georges Szell (CBS)
* Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ David Zinman (Arte Nova)
* Berlin Philharmoniker/ Raphael Kubelik (DG)

I have a personal frontrunner in my mind, but could possibly be persuaded to the contrary by reasoned argument, so I'll be most interested to read your thoughts... :D
Sawallisch for me. I also have Marriner's set, and have heard courtesy the public library Szell, Zinman and Kubelik. Zinman is too fast and he makes the symphonies sound more like chamber pieces for me, while Szell and Kubelik seem a little too slow or undramatic for me, but I rate them a little higher than Zinman as they're not as "chamber-music"-like. Marriner is about as fast as Sawallisch, but I like the somewhat reverberant acoustic which Sawallisch works with but Marriner doesn't. For my tastes, I need just a little bit of reverberation to make a Romantic piece "sound" Romantic ("big sound" for lack of a better term?). To boot, I have not been disappointed to date by any of my other recordings with the Staatskapelle Dresden - its take on Schumann with Sawallisch is no different.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Wallingford » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:40 pm

Well, I'm not one given to showering praise on Marriner for performing post-Classic repertory, but I'll give a thumbs-up to his Schumann symphony set.....but NOT the one listed above. His earlier, out-of-print set with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra has the benefit of players with it in their blood. I've heard all this set except the Fourth.

His ASMF set reverts back to his old, mincing style.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:42 pm

Donaldopato wrote:I am not big on Schumann, but the Szell/Cleveland set is highly regarded and is the one I have.
Neither do I, but, i'd nominate Szell and Chailly...
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by dirkronk » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:59 pm

I too have a low threshold of tolerance for these symphonies unless they're put forth with some mmmph. Szell/Cleveland and Bernstein/NY are two sets I bought in the days of vinyl and both sets have survived multiple purges. I'm sure there are numerous newer editions that are worthy of consideration (and I have a handful, including Goodman/Hanover Band and others that have been recommended to me from time to time), but these are the two classic traversals that I still turn to when I want to hear the music treated with both power and respect.
FWIW.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:00 pm

May I put in another recommendation. It is for the Bernstein/New York Phil series on Sony. Bernstein is terrific and you will love his excting interpretations, as a supplement to Sawallisch, my friend. 8)
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Barry » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:56 pm

Sawallisch/Dresden is my favorite overall set. I agree that his sound is more blended and less transparent than some in some other sets, but that's the type of sound I like for Schumann. They're aggressive performances with a perfect sound for the music IMO.

Having said that, for something more transparent, I prefer Zinman to Szell.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by rwetmore » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:03 am

Tough to recommend complete sets.

I haven't heard it in years and no longer own it, but I remember the Bernstein NYPO set being very good overall. Szell is good but overrated IMO. Solti's 3 and 4 are very good too (I've not heard 1 & 2).

Levine does a really good 4th with the Philadelphia Orchestra (from the late 70s). The second from that series is also good.

These symphonies are hard to do well. The vast majority of recordings I've heard leave a lot to be desired.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:06 am

Some folks regard my opinion on Schumann recordings highly, so here goes.

Zinman's workman-like kapellmeister style would fit Haydn's symphonies better. But if you enjoy these cheerful and sprightly performances, go ahead.

Bernstein does well in the First, even better in the Second and Fourth. Both N.Y. and Vienna sets have good qualities. But he goes horribly wrong in the coda of the Third (31 bars before close) where he over-interprets Schumann's "schneller" marking, turning this noble portion of the "Rheinische" into chaos.

Muti has my overall favorite set. His Fourth might be the best available. His lines are strong, the rhythms have punch and the brass is not pushed into the background, but given their say in the matter. Ultra fine!

Sawallisch's is the most consistent set. He brings out the instruments strikingly, gives warm interpretations and doesn't suddenly speed up or slow down, as Barenboim and Bernstein tend to do.

Karajan has perhaps the best Third of anyone. His Fourth is sweeping and powerful, making Szell's sound like chamber music. His First and Second are good, but I prefer others.

Szell does a fine First, but I find the others (especially the Second) totally lacking in feeling, breadth, and dynamics. It's ironic that Szell, who regarded Schumann as the greatest of the classical Romantic composers, should take such a colorless approach to his symphonic output.

I may think of some other sets later, but off the top of my head----get both Muti AND Sawallisch. As with the symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, those of Schumann have myriad ways of interpretation, most of them eye/ear-openers.

Tschüß,
Jack



I also enjoy Dohanyi's set, even though he follows more the Szell approach.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:23 am

Well firstly let me say a big 'thank you' to all who have responded, so eloquently to this request... you lot really are the best.. :!: 8)

I was playing Devil's advocate a bit, in having already read up a little, I had used the Marriner, Zinman & Muti as 'makeweights' which might only be considered on future occasions. I added the Kubelik at the last minute, because I'd just found out that DG are to re-issue their 2CD on the Originals series on 25th Jan, although I tend to associate him more with Dvorak & Smetana (which he seems to be almost peerless at) than Schumann.

I didn't include Karajan, as I already have his box set, which leads to the three which intrigued me most. My 'front-runner' was/is Sawallisch, partly because it has uniformly strong reviews, and I also think the Dresden is superb. That said, would you say that this interpretation would be more similar to the Karajan, than the Solti, which I must admit, intrigues me more than the Szell, which I'm willing to concede is also a strong contender.

I know I'm going to offend a few forum members when I say this, but I tend to put Schumann's Symphonies at the top of the 2nd Division in terms of overall quality, and therefore don't want too many box sets of these works, but would like a different interpretation to the Karajan.

Also, to continue this thread and therefore my indulgence, whilst you're adding comments to the above, votes for best recordings of Schumann's Piano, Violin & Cello Concertos would also be greatly appreciated... 8)

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by bombasticDarren » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:27 am

Jared, any reason you didn't consider the Gardiner set? It really is very good :)

Another personal favourite (which I don't think was mentioned) was Kubelik's Sony cycle with the BRSO...worth a try at least :)

Other than that Sawallisch's set is wonderful in almost every way :D :!:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:00 am

bombasticDarren wrote:Jared, any reason you didn't consider the Gardiner set? It really is very good :)
a) I don't want an HIP set and b) Its hideously expensive.. I am hoping to buy a set of symphonies, a Piano Concerto disk and a Violin Concerto disk for that price... :D

but tbh, its mainly a) at present.. :wink:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Fergus » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:09 am

bombasticDarren wrote:Jared, any reason you didn't consider the Gardiner set? It really is very good :)
That set is (hopefully) winging its way to me through the snow and ice as we speak :D

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:12 am

^^ let me know your verdict, Fergus... and btw, congrats on clocking up 1700 really friendly and informative posts.. :wink:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Ken » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:13 am

Jared wrote:I would like to invest in another set of Schumann Symphonies, OUT OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN ONLY!

I have a personal frontrunner in my mind, but could possibly be persuaded to the contrary by reasoned argument, so I'll be most interested to read your thoughts... :D
* Staatskapelle Dresden/ Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI) - Easily the most recommendable of the sets that you list; the booming Staatskapelle acoustic provides for very atmospheric performances, and Sawallisch's conducting is clear and intelligent. The recordings of the Second, Fourth, and the Allegro, Scherzo and Finale are phenomenal.

* Wiener Philharmoniker/ Georg Solti (Decca) - Not worth investing in, as far as I'm concerned. Overdramatized, and the manufactured sound of the WPO seems far too stingy for Schumann.

* Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/ Neville Marriner (Brilliant) - A very good, very fleet set, though as one poster mentioned, not as recommendable as Marriner's recordings with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart

* Philharmonia Orchestra of London/ Riccardo Muti (EMI) - Have only heard samples from this one.

* Cleveland Orchestra/ Georges Szell (CBS) - This is Szell's version of Schumann. If you like his reorchestrations and the rather meaty Cleveland sound, it might be recommendable. I personally find it to sound very dated.

* Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ David Zinman (Arte Nova) - Very recommendable if you're in to the pseudo-HIP approach of Marriner and Dausgaard. Zinman seems to be one of the very few conductors who actually has a philosophy on Schumann.

* Berlin Philharmoniker/ Raphael Kubelik (DG) - Kubelik is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the leading reasons why Schumann's orchestration has been labeled as 'dense' and 'muddy'; his big-boned approach suits more whimsical late-Romantic composers but ignores the Schumannian rhythmic and instrumental idiosyncrasies.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:27 am

^^ Ken, that's a really fine set of answers... 8) :idea:

I had however returned to say that the Sawallisch is the set I am going to purchase next week, so I'm pleased (and relieved!) that you concur.. :wink:

Ken... as an aside, what do you think of the Harnoncourt set?? :?:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:29 am

I just thought of the James Levine release of the Second and Fourth. Fantastically dramatic, yet restrained. But this might not be for everyone, though the recorded sound brings out everything really clearly.

Not sure what Ken means when he says Zinman has "a philosophy" on Schumann's symphonies. Zinman himself has said in an interview that he just prefers quicker tempi now. I don't feel any special philosophy in his Schumann.....Barenboim has one, however inconsistent it might seem to some. According to him, Schumann especially needs special attention to bring out the inner voices. This is my gripe with the Mahler versions: many of the inner voices have disappeared.

A real Schumann scholar is Herreweghe. I have his Second and Fourth and the former is breathtaking. We heard him live last year in Mannheim with the Third and I felt he took the "Feierlich" 4th mvt. too fast, as almost everyone does---except Karajan, Muti, Sawallisch and Barenboim. Anything under six minutes is suspicious, as this highly contrapuntal music needs room and time to expand.

Whatever it means---2nd division---(is this a basketball team?! :roll: ) as applied to Schumann's symphonies doesn't sit well with today's musicologists. Many regard them as "the most important works of their kind since the time of Beethoven". They are first-rate.

Tschüß,
Jack
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:48 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Whatever it means---2nd division---(is this a basketball team?! :roll: ) as applied to Schumann's symphonies doesn't sit well with today's musicologists. Many regard them as "the most important works of their kind since the time of Beethoven". They are first-rate.
It certainly wasn't meant as a personal sleight Jack... I know just how passionate you and Ken are about your Schumann, and in the future, I know I can be safe in the knowledge that you will both be able to provide the best possible advice, when its time to expand my discography.. :idea:

as you know, I've been listening to CM for 18 months, and whilst I've very much enjoyed the Chamber and instrumental works I've heard thus far (and believe me, there's a long way to go!), I just honestly can't put a great deal of his Orchestral output in the same league as his contemporaries such as Brahms, Mendelssohn or even Liszt.. :? I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel; maybe in time, that might change, but don't take it personally.. :(

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by DavidRoss » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:04 pm

Jared--I'm not a big Schumann fan but Zinman did cause me to hear him with new and more favorable ears. Overall, however, I'm more satisfied by Bernstein's set with the WP--I like their big, bold, unabashedly lush approach, especially to the 3rd, one of the few I choose to hear because I want to rather than because I feel obligated to keep trying.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Ken » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:51 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:Not sure what Ken means when he says Zinman has "a philosophy" on Schumann's symphonies. Zinman himself has said in an interview that he just prefers quicker tempi now. I don't feel any special philosophy in his Schumann.
Taking this from a Gramophone interview around the time of his first release of the Schumann Symphonies with the Baltimore SO. He made some very insightful statements about tempi and rhythm, and about how we shouldn't treat Schumann's Symphonies as though they are of the same vintage as the Brahms or Mahler works.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Ken » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:52 pm

Jared wrote:Ken... as an aside, what do you think of the Harnoncourt set?? :?:
Jared, I've actually not heard the Harnoncourt recordings, though I'm a sympathizer of his and I find his other Schumann releases to be fantastic.
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:05 pm

Jared wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:Whatever it means---2nd division---(is this a basketball team?! :roll: ) as applied to Schumann's symphonies doesn't sit well with today's musicologists. Many regard them as "the most important works of their kind since the time of Beethoven". They are first-rate.
It certainly wasn't meant as a personal sleight Jack... I know just how passionate you and Ken are about your Schumann, and in the future, I know I can be safe in the knowledge that you will both be able to provide the best possible advice, when its time to expand my discography.. :idea:

as you know, I've been listening to CM for 18 months, and whilst I've very much enjoyed the Chamber and instrumental works I've heard thus far (and believe me, there's a long way to go!), I just honestly can't put a great deal of his Orchestral output in the same league as his contemporaries such as Brahms, Mendelssohn or even Liszt.. :? I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel; maybe in time, that might change, but don't take it personally.. :(
"Personal sleight(sic!)", not at all. Schumann takes time. Telemann is easier than Handel and Bach, Mendelssohn and Liszt easier than Schumann. Those who truly do not understand Schumann's style, nor wish to, do ME no injury---only their own musical enjoyment. If you keep in mind that Schumann "created a new harmonic language, one not based on his predecessors" (Boughton) then it might be easier as a beginning point.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Jack Kelso
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:10 pm

Ken wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:Not sure what Ken means when he says Zinman has "a philosophy" on Schumann's symphonies. Zinman himself has said in an interview that he just prefers quicker tempi now. I don't feel any special philosophy in his Schumann.
Taking this from a Gramophone interview around the time of his first release of the Schumann Symphonies with the Baltimore SO. He made some very insightful statements about tempi and rhythm, and about how we shouldn't treat Schumann's Symphonies as though they are of the same vintage as the Brahms or Mahler works.
Now that's interesting, Ken. "Same vintage" meaning contemporaneous?! Does that mean Brahms should be played like Raff or Bruckner? Schumann like Mendelssohn? Sibelius like Mahler? Sorry, I'd like to have a beer with him over that opinion!

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

THEHORN
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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by THEHORN » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:44 pm

Although I'm no big fan of HIP performances , Gardiner's set is actually pretty good, and even includes the original version of the 4th, which though interesting, is not superior to the familar version, plus the Konzertstuck for 4 horns and the early
"Zwickau " symphony, named after the composer's birthplace.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:42 am

THEHORN wrote:Although I'm no big fan of HIP performances , Gardiner's set is actually pretty good, and even includes the original version of the 4th, which though interesting, is not superior to the familar version, plus the Konzertstuck for 4 horns and the early
"Zwickau " symphony, named after the composer's birthplace.
If I'm not mistaken, the Gardner set includes only the first movement of the G Minor Symphony ("Zwickau"). I still have a radio performance by Marc Andrae which has TWO movements, lasting about twenty-two minutes.

Brahms preferred the original version of Schumann's Fourth....why, I don't know. The revised version is vastly superior in development, breadth and expression.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jared » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:05 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Brahms preferred the original version of Schumann's Fourth....why, I don't know. The revised version is vastly superior in development, breadth and expression.
Jack, there is an interesting article in this month's BBC Music Magazine about the rift caused between Brahms and Clara in 1889, by his decision to publish the 1841 version behind her back. Try and track down a copy, which also contains a CD with Symph No 4 and Mackerras' Konzertstuck for Four Horns.. :idea:

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Ken » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:35 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Now that's interesting, Ken. "Same vintage" meaning contemporaneous?! Does that mean Brahms should be played like Raff or Bruckner? Schumann like Mendelssohn? Sibelius like Mahler? Sorry, I'd like to have a beer with him over that opinion!

Tschüß,
Jack
Basically meaning the same angle of attack in terms of orchestral colour, which evolved quite a bit from 1845 to 1875. We can play Schumann with more or less modern forces and still be true to the rhythmic demands of his music, so long as we emphasize transparency and balance.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Ken » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:38 am

^ Adding to that, though, I should mention that the Schumann Symphonies in the hands of a skilled chamber orchestra can be spectacular experiences. There are a lot of subtleties in Schumann's orchestration that indeed tend to be drowned out by modern forces, though modern orchestras can certainly flaunt the uplifting message of the Second Symphony or the dramatic metamorphosis of the Fourth, for instance, in a much more impacting way.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Marc » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:53 am

For sculpted no-nonsense readings you might try this. It could be a good (and not so expensive) introduction:

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.a ... ooglemusic

I have 3 & 4 on disc (bought them for about a handful euros long time ago), but apparently my Music Cassette copies of 1 & 2 are lost in the .... appartment desert. :wink:

BTW, my own experiences concerning the appreciation of Schumann's works is: begin with smaller scaled works, like chamber music and songs. Lots of gems there!
After that (if it worked for you): enlarge your appreciation, beginning with the delicious Piano Concerto.

(EDIT: it also helped me to begin with listening to Mendelssohn more thoroughly. So that would make it: first Mendelssohn, then small Schumann, then large Schumann. ;).)

Just my thoughts, though.

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Re: Schumann Symphony Boxset: Which One?

Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:15 am

Marc wrote:For sculpted no-nonsense readings you might try this. It could be a good (and not so expensive) introduction:

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.a ... ooglemusic

I have 3 & 4 on disc (bought them for about a handful euros long time ago), but apparently my Music Cassette copies of 1 & 2 are lost in the .... appartment desert. :wink:

BTW, my own experiences concerning the appreciation of Schumann's works is: begin with smaller scaled works, like chamber music and songs. Lots of gems there!
After that (if it worked for you): enlarge your appreciation, beginning with the delicious Piano Concerto.

(EDIT: it also helped me to begin with listening to Mendelssohn more thoroughly. So that would make it: first Mendelssohn, then small Schumann, then large Schumann. ;).)

Just my thoughts, though.
But they're good thoughts, Marc. That was the way I arrived at the "larger" Schumann----the symphonies, concerti and great choral works. But then again, as a four-year-old I was listening intensely to Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.....

I am convinced that early training in listening helps develop good taste.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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