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Cat. No. CHAN 9846 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9846 - Schumann: Symphony No. 4 etc.
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Available From: 14 September 2000
Schumann first tried his hand at a symphony as early as 1832 but seems to have lacked confidence to complete the work. It was not until 1839, after hearing Mendelssohn conduct the long-delayed premiere of Schubert’s ‘Great’ C major Symphony, that he was fired with enthusiasm. In 1841, secure in his marriage with Clara and domestic happiness, he produced the ‘Spring’ Symphony No. 1 and the Symphony in D minor known as No. 4, written during the summer and presented to Clara on her birthday, 13 September.

In December 1841 it suffered a poor premiere and the score was laid aside by Schumann until December 1851 when he decided to revise the symphony for performance in his Düsseldorf concerts. In the process he drastically altered the scoring, thickening the textures with wholesale octave doublings designed to make each significant entry as fool-proof as possible – a symptom of his own inadequacies as a conductor. The revision led to a strengthening of two passages: the transition from the slow introduction to the fast main section and from the scherzo to the finale. The symphony is an intense work with much of the symphony’s thematic material growing from a single five-note cell.

Vom Pagen und der Königstochter is actually a cycle of ballads, based on four narrative poems by Emanuel Geibel, that like Schumann’s other choral ballads draw on medieval German folklore. Geibel’s colourful poems gave Schumann ample scope for picturesque, varied music, including such favourite Romantic genre pieces as a hunting chorus, a mermaid’s chorus and a wedding chorus.
Reviews

‘Michael Schønwandt proves himself yet again the perfect exponent of this repertoire. Recommended.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9373 (Horneman)

‘…an excellent addition to the catalogue, and highly recommended’
Opera on CHAN 9611(2) (Strauss)

‘The Danish orchestra under Michael Schønwandt play clearly… Dietrich Henschel as the Harper and Roland Wagenführer as the Youth are both excellent.’
Classic CD on CHAN 9760 (Schumann)

 

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