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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
This cycle of Schumann symphonies performed by Staatskapelle Dresden under Guiseppe Sinopoli is not among first choices, but it's still a fine set that easily makes my top ten. Whether the composer was good at orchestration or not, some renditions of these works can sound a bit fuzzy, but these performances certainly do not: Clarity, a sense of the propulsive and Schumann's moodiness all are evident in these recordings. That said, I'll add that my prime choices for these works are the performances conducted by Goodman and Gardiner for period instrument versions, and Szell and Bernstein (Sony) and Masur (Gewandhaus) and Sawallisch for modern ones. Haitink's and Solti's join this one by Sinopoli in the second tier. Oh, and for a really stinging version of Schumann's Second Symphony, consider Sinopoli again, only this time leading the Vienna Philharmonic on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
Whatever their level of expertise be, every doctor sends patients to Boot Hill before their time: that's the nature of the game. Giuseppe Sinopoli was a physician. I know nothing of this secondary career of his. If ever a charge of quackery were to be sustained, it would be affixed to his 1994 survey of Schumann's Symphonies rather than any maltreatment in the ward.

It's all very well to ride on the coat-tails of the Dresden Staatskapelle - one of the world's greatest orchestras and enduringly so - but at the end of the day, the conductor has to impose a cogent and farsighted vision on the score at hand and this is an imperative in Schumann.

There is no line here. A reviewer elsewhere uses the word `garbled' in reference to this farrago and to my mind, that's right on the money. Consider the first movement of Second Symphony once the slow introduction comes to an end: where is the line? How lumpy this is, as if one is driving along a road with potholes! The Spring is unlistenable for the same reason. Schumann's symphonies are reflective of his tripartite nature and the tension generated therein; again, where is the "barely suppressed excitement" in the first movement of the Rhenish or the ecstasy in the slow movement of the First? The transition into the finale of the Fourth is Schumann at his most luminous - or at least I thought so; tell me Veronica and tell me true: is there more to this passage than a prosaic dash-to-the-line sprint?

DG trumpets the glories of 20-bit technology. The Second fares better than its companions. Indeed, the First and Third in particular are strangely subdued as recordings.

This start-stop-lurch about-grind up-affair makes one wonder to what extent Sinopoli prepared studiously for this endeavour; or perhaps his innate limitations are being telegraphed.

Whatever: avoid this like the pox!
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