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Syms 2/4


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1. 1. Sostenuto assai – Allegro, ma non troppo
2. 2. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
3. 3. Adagio espressivo
4. 4. Allegro molto vivace
5. Genoveva: Overture Opus 81
6. 1. Ziemlich langsam – Lebhaft
7. 2. Romanze (Ziemlich langsam)
8. 3. Scherzo (lebhaft) & Trio
9. 4. Langsam–Lebhaft–Schneler–Presto

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Elegant, Mesmerizing Performances of Mahler's Edited Versions of Schumann's 2nd and 4th Symphonies Feb. 28 2007
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Distinguished composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was not alone among his contemporaries in "editing" works composed by earlier great composers such as Beethoven and Schumann (A classic case in point is the fate of most, if not all, of Bruckner's symphonies, which received major, unauthorized revisions during - and after - the composer's life.). Critic David Matthews observes in the liner notes for this recording that Mahler's revisions of Schumann's symphonies were essentially minor, remaining fateful to Schumann's artistic vision, without trying to impose Mahler's own personal stamp on these scores. Matthews gives a splendid overview of Mahler's corrections, pointing out exactly where changes were made in Schumann's original orchestrations of both scores.

After hearing this recording I couldn't help but utter "Wow". The venerable Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra has rarely sounded better - either live or in a recording - under the magnificient conducting of its new music director Riccardo Chailly. Clearly, in a short time under his inspired directorship, the orchestra is now regarded by many as one of Europe's five great orchestras. Mahler's edited versions of these two Schumann symphonies truly emphasize this orchestra's strengths; most notably a warm, lush, vibrant Central European tone for its string sections, and vibrant, precise intonation from both the winds and horns. Chailly and his new orchestra have done a fine job demonstrating why Mahler's edited versions of these two Schumann symphonies should be heard more often in concert performances (I might add that this is yet a good reason wny the Mahler-edited version of Schumann's 1st Symphony will be performed at Carnegie Hall during the orchestra's latest North American tour early next week.). Purists may cringe at some of the changes which Mahler has made to these scores, but I think most will agree that these are still splendid performances of Schumann's symphonies, coupled with elegant sound quality from Decca's sound engineers.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Schumann heard brightly through Mahler's ears March 12 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Even after pioneering efforts in the Sixties by Leonard Bernstein, who set out to disprove the dusty claim that Schumann's symphonic orchestrations are awkward or even botched, the accusation kept cropping up. Then the authenticity movement helped restore the four symphonies to what Schumann originally intended. Now, by a quirk of taste, Chailly is reverting back to the old days of tampering with the score, not to diss the composer but to let us hear what another genius (and supreme orchestrator), Mahler, had to say.

What one hears immediately is that Mahler thinned out the many doublings of string lines, rendering them leaner and cleaner. In the process he allowed wind solos to emerge more clearly. After hearing a concert featuring the First "Spring" Sym., the NY Times reviewer commented that Mahler makes Schumann sound like early Beethoven. Well, not on this CD, but the opened-up texture is highly noticeable. You'll hear woodwind chords that used to be underwater and less 'fatness' in the orchestra's timbre. Call it Schumann in light of Mendelssohn.

Chailly has suddenly revitalized the dogged old Leipzig Gewandhaus, earning raves everywhere, and quite deservedly. The ensemble is sharp, alive, and constantly grabbing the listener's attention in these electric readings of Sym. 2 and 4, which are the best we've gotten in a decade. If you want to hear Mahelr's Schumann done in sparkling performances, this CD is highly recommended.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking: the performance means as much as the score June 11 2007
By David Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of the most exciting new releases of classical music from 2007. None other than Gustav Mahler (who himself was known as much as a conductor as a composer in his day) neatly edited Schumann's rather muddy orchestrations and Chailly has carefully researched what should be labelled the "Mahler performing editions."

But it's not just the tightened-up orchestrations that make these performances breathtaking to listen to. Chailly whips along the usually stodgy Gewandhaus Orchestra and has beautiful phrasing. The horns burp and bark along with unbridled enthusiasm. Occasionally, the heavy punching on the emphases seems a bit like over-acting on the stage, but in the main part the result is successful.

Schumann definitely has his "longueurs" in concert performance with A B A structure that seems to be repeated once too often for the modern ear. But in listening to these (especially the 4th symphony) when the CD is over, the first thing you'll want to do is to play it again.

This release has the two unnamed symphonies (Numbers 2 and 4) and we eagerly await similar recordings of the Mahler editions of Number 1 ("The Spring Symphony") and Number 3 (the "Rhenish").

This CD belongs in every serious classical music collection.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Performances---and Mahler's Arrangements Feb. 17 2008
By M. C. Passarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
My take here is a little different from that of other reviewers. Whereas Mahler may have clarified the mud at certain points (and as the notes to this recording say, Mahler curiously didn't even touch the doublings of wind and strings that are thought of as Schumann's most egregious failing in reworking his Symphony No. 4 , 1841/1852), at others Mahler misjudges, I think you'll agree, if you know and love these scores well enough. For example, he makes a strange cut in the coda of No. 2 just where Schumann builds to a big Romantic peroration, and there are a Brucknerian luftpause or two thrown in for bad measure. These will leave knowledgeable listeners scratching their heads. But otherwise, the changes are subtle and if not essential, then mostly for the good. Woodwinds make their points more tellingly here and there, and balances in general sound more judicious.

(It's a shame, by the way, that while he was at it, Mahler didn't cobble together the truly definitive Schumann Fourth Symphony. This would start with Schumann's 1841 edition of the symphony, preferred by Brahms and just about everybody else who has really listened to the two versions, and for the two big transitions in the work--slow introduction to First Movement proper and Scherzo to Finale--substitute the more successful versions of these sections from the 1852 edition. Schumann learned a lot about building tension in an orchestral piece in the years between 1841 and 1852. But during the same period, he also became a beleaguered conductor who, in order to get more surefire attacks from his orchestra, decided to double the winds and strings in his later edition of the symphony. The result? The listener strains for evidence that the woodwinds have even been invited to the party.)

The trouble with Mahler's interventions, beside the fact that they represent questionable musical practice in the first place, is that the authentic-music movement has shown that the original orchestrations were not as inept as many thought. It's just that Schumann's scoring doesn't work well when played by the late-Romantic orchestra that we hear in concert halls of today. Unless, of course, a great late-Romantic composer comes along and makes the proper adjustments to the Schumann sound so that it all does work. John Elliott Gardiner, in his essential recording of the complete symphonies, went the other route, of course, stripping the orchestra down to the Mendelssohn-era one that Schumann would have known. And, of course, the original orchestrations work much, much better, even if Schumann won't ever be considered a master orchestrator.

So what of the current recording by Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra? Two things need be said. One, it is fascinating to hear Mahler's thoughts on music he clearly loved and felt he had to "improve" before bringing it before the public in his guise as conductor. Two, and more importantly, these are brilliant performances in any event. Chailly is one of the two or three consistently fine conductors recording today, and the Gewandhaus (Mendelssohn's orchestra, after all) sounds like a hand-in-glove fit for this assignment. A case in point is the "Genoveva Overture." Mahler didn't tidy up this work for Schumann, and yet it makes as grand an impression as the symphonies do--maybe grander, in that magnificently brassy peroration at the end of the coda. I've never heard it more thrillingly played, and this is one of my favorite Schumann pieces.
These performances are good but not great Dec 2 2014
By I.O.Pine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These performances are good but not great. I find them a bit heavy handed. I have enjoyed these symphonies for many years via recordings by Bernstein (Sony), Dohnanyi (Decca), Kubelik (Sony and DG) and others. This disc lacks the transparency of musical texture that was allegedly the goal of Mahler's editing. Bernstein and Dohnanyi achieve this goal without re-arranging Schumann's scores.


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