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Schumann: Complete Symphonies (3 CDs)

May 12, 1998

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1
30
10:37
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2
30
7:57
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3
30
10:54
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4
30
6:22
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5
30
5:15
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6
30
7:42
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7
30
6:03
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8
30
4:37
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9
30
6:18
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Disc 2
1
30
8:18
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2
30
3:48
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3
30
5:08
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4
30
6:47
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5
30
12:12
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6
30
7:01
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7
30
10:08
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8
30
8:29
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Disc 3
1
30
7:06
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2
30
5:03
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3
30
5:37
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4
30
8:50
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5
30
5:54
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6
30
4:37
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7
30
4:55
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8
30
5:37
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9
30
9:58
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10
30
3:38
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11
30
4:51
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12
30
1:32
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13
30
7:40
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 11, 1998
  • Release Date: March 11, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Copyright: (C) 1998 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 3:22:54
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0018P10FA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,539 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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wbwhyma@nwa.com
The recording is faithful and very clear giving crisp differentiation and full range plus excellent balance.
I. Giles
I like this recording very much, too.
Steven Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Another wonderful set of discs from Gardiner -- how on earth does he do it? No matter, these interpretations are thrilling. Powerful yet clear, forward moving yet expressive, and free of the musical rambling usually associated with Schumann. I firmly believe that Schumann's undeserved reputation as a second rate composer is reinforced by all the absolutely *stupid* performance traditions associated with his works (particularly his early piano works -- pianists usually ignore Schumann's precise markings). Gardiner scraps tradition here. The finale of the First Symphony is no longer a dainty ditty but a vigorous, life affirming dance coloured with Schumann's lyric muse -- a wonderful fusing of the "animato" of Schumann's tempo mark and the the farewell of Spring that the music depicts. In this interpretation, the Third Symphony gathers energy from movement to movement. The awesome cathedralesque splendor of the fourth movement is realized splendidly and the sweeping finale avoids the sense of anticlimax that usually happens in performances and recordings of this work. The Second Symphony (my personal favorite) is just magnificent from start to finish -- with an especially affecting slow movement and a finale that suits Gardiner's conducting very well. And, as always, textures are clarified and details are revealed -- listen, for example, to the busy texture of the recap. of the first movement of the Second. As I was listening to this cycle I kept on saying to myself "it can't possibly be this good!" But it is, believe me.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David A. Wend on November 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This set of CDs set out to debunk the myth that Robert Schumann was an incompetent orchestrator and was merely a gifted amateur. The results are an unqualified success. Recorded here are all of Schumann's works for orchestra, including the little heard first version of the 4th symphony and his earliest symphonic work the so-called "Zwickau" symphony.
John Elliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique play these works with passion and conviction. The playing is fabulous and the recording quality is superb. It was a great discovery for me to listen to these discs and fully appreciate Schumann's place in musical history. Prior to this, my interest in this composer was slight, so this set filled a gap. I can attest that the Rhenish symphony and the revised 4th, the most popular of Schumann's symphonies, sparkle under Gardiner's direction. My older recording of these works are rarely played now. I highly recommend the journey that these records offer.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore VINE VOICE on February 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
John Eliot Gardiner's scholarly approach to the orchestral music of Robert Schumann has nothing fusty about it; in fact, the elegance and sprightliness of the music shines through, putting the lie to the old canard that Schumann was a heavy, unimaginative orchestrator. Besides excellent versions of old favorites such as the "Rhenish" Symphony and the Konzertstuck for four horns and orchestra, there are enticing rarities here, such as Schumann's apprentice G Minor symphony, the "Zwickau," which isn't included in his official canon of symphonies. I cannot see why any true Schumann fans would not want to have this boxed set; it is a fascinating document, presenting Schumann's music much as he must have imagined it himself.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marcus K. Maroney on October 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This set it absolutely glorious. All of the works are played with utmost precision, rhythmic security and great tempo choices. The period instruments add an extra degree of clarity as well as exaggerated dynamic contrasts and prominent timpani throughout. This is easily the finest performance of the Konzertstuck currently available, and one of the most exciting Rhenish performances on disc. If, like me, you're put off by Gardiner's sometimes 'too tidy' or 'antiseptic' sounding recordings, don't be here. I found his Beethoven cycle a bit robotic, but there is thankfully a much higher degree of personality to be found here. The one drawback is a lack of tension in most of the slow movements (especially in the 2nd symphony) that makes them sound a bit trite - for the utmost here you have to turn to Bernstein's DG accounts. Regardless, if you're looking for a beautifully put together recording of these works, don't hesitate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann (1810- 1855). I took the first of what I hope will be many opportunities to revisit his music by listening to this recording of Schumann's symphonies by John Elliott Gardiner conducting the Orchestre Revolutionarire et Romantique. This 3-CD set dates from 1998 and appears, unfortunately, to be out-of-print. But these recordings are lively, lucid, and inspired readings of this great romantic composer.

Gardiner is best-known for period performances. Many listeners associate "period" recordings with music of the Baroque and early classical periods; but, as shown here, it offers insights into later music as well. Schumann's symphonies frequently are undervalued due to the composer's claimed deficiencies with orchestration. Many performances of his works sound clotted and muddy, allegedly as a result of Schumann's shortcomings as an orchestral composer. It is commmon to use "retouched" versions of the scores in performance. Gardiner argues that the heavy orchestral sound and sometimes ponderous rhythm in performances of these works is due in large part to late romantic performance practices, in particular the use of large orchestras which with their size and arrangement of instruments create imbalances when used to play Schumann. Thus these works are performed by a reduced orchestra consisting of about 50 performers which is the ensemble Schumann generally would have had available. Gardiner has made other adjustments in balancing the instruments, including changes in phrasing and articulation, that effect the sound. The result is that these Schumann symphonies have a lightness of texture that belies the heavy-handed sound of many performances.
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