One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases



The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation


such a success


An outstanding performance


make acquaintance without delay


Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc


Strong advocacy
for a British composer


Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted


Piano Music 5CDs


Consistently fine


Rare and interesting repertoire


An excellent introduction


A Celebration on Record


An issue of importance


Richard RIJNVOS
A splendid disc


both enlightening and rewarding
additional review

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 4 in D minor (original version) [22:46]
Symphony in G minor, “Zwickau” [19:45]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Symphony No. 4 in A, “Italian” (revised version) [30:31]
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Marc Andreae
rec. 13-17 January, 2014, Joseph Keilberth Hall, Konzerthalle Bamberg, Germany
GUILD GMCD7412 [73:02]

Veteran conductor Marc Andreae spices up this Schumann and Mendelssohn pairing by presenting the less well-known versions of these composers’ Fourth Symphonies. The Schumann is in its original, shorter, more transparent scoring, while the Mendelssohn performance is in the composer’s revised version, rather different from the one we know and love. The performances match the interest of these two rarer works.

Schumann’s Fourth exists in an original and a revised form. The revised version was the standard until comparatively recently; indeed, Marc Andreae can claim to have conducted the original version’s 20th century premiere in the 1980s. It has since been recorded by conductors like John Eliot Gardiner, and to me at least, it is clearly superior to the more famous revised piece. The reason is simple: it’s more concise. Schumann’s original symphonic vision eschewed all the “extras” and pared down the structure and ideas to the minimum necessary, with smooth and speedy transitions from one movement to the next. It also has simpler, lighter orchestration.

Mendelssohn’s revised Italian symphony is a bit peculiar. It removes some entire episodes, like the minor-key climax at the end of the third movement. It adds others, like a fugue to the finale. (Don’t worry, it’s not a stern fugue; it somehow maintains the light tarantella dance spirit while engaging in counterpoint, which is an impressive achievement.) In many places, harmonies are changed or simplified. Overall, I would say that the changes can be summarized as an attempt to be stricter in terms of thematic material. Mendelssohn was, apparently, simplifying.

The Italian Symphony’s alternate version may not supplant the original in my affection, but it is very much worth hearing, and different enough for connoisseurs to take note. The Schumann symphony’s alternate version, meanwhile, is clearly superior (to my ears). This is, however, only a second-best recording to Gardiner’s, which has an extra clarity to its orchestral sound, at least in part because Gardiner’s band plays in period instruments.

The bonus is Schumann’s early and unfinished “Zwickau” symphony. Marc Andreae explains in his booklet essay that he has slightly altered the orchestration of the second, and final, movement. The goal was to make a more satisfying conclusion, like the Schubert Unfinished. Unfortunately, I don’t find this student work interesting at all. It’s not Andreae’s fault, nor his orchestra’s; Schumann was quite simply writing some of his least inspired music. The student had a long way to go to realize his full potential.

Andreae is so familiar with these less-popular versions of the symphonies that he leads them with great command and verve. The recorded sound may not be perfect (in the development section of Schumann’s first movement, some inner string voices get lost), but it is overall perfectly good. I especially recommend this disc if you don’t have the box of John Eliot Gardiner’s complete Schumann recordings, although that is now reissued at a super-budget price, so you have no excuse. This new disc will reward curious listeners who love these composers.

Brian Reinhart

 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage


a vibrant slice of life


BRITISH CELLO WORKS
stylistically assured


About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs


Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome


An inspired partnership
additional review


TOSCA
A valuable document



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger