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Syms 3 In E Fl Maj Op97/4 In


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not even interesting June 16 2012
By dissonance - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Schumann's symphonies are delicate things, as their raison d'etre is easily lost and then they become superfluous. That's what has happened here. It probably was not Harnoncourt's intention, but it sounds like he's conducting Schumann as if it were Beethoven.

Where is Schumann in these recordings? Where is the romantic lyricism? Not here. This simply is not Schumann, and even then, i don't think the music works like this but sounds like 3rd rate Beethoven.

This a shame. Harnoncourt's recordings of many Haydn symphonies are incredible - my favourites - and his Beethoven cycle is not only interesting but musically wonderful. But Schumann's sensitive romanticism eludes his grasp.

Disappointed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Interesting, Often Intriguing Set Of Interpretations From Harnoncourt and The Chamber Orchestra of Europe June 1 2007
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Without a doubt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is one of our most inspired, intellectually thoughtful, conductors. His elegant interpretations of Schubert's symphonies and of Beethoven's too, have earned much ample praise from critics and fans alike. Originally interestedin Baroque and Classical Music, Maestro Harnoncourt has lately made over the past decade a series of truly compelling recordings of some of the most important compositions from noted 19th and 20th Century composers ranging from Brahms and Dvorak to Bruckner and Bartok. However, I can't say that I would regard this early 1990s recording as one of his finest, even though there is still enough to admire from it for me to bestow upon it highest honors. At first glance Harnoncourt and his small orchestral ensemble have made a fascinating, period instrument-influenced recording which emphasizes Schumann's underrated strengths as an orchestral arranger, in two exceptionally well-played performances of the ever popular 3rd "Rhenish" Symphony and the original version of the 4th Symphony, dating from 1841, a year after he composed his stirring, almost jubilant, 1st Symphony.

My major reservation about this recording is Harnoncourt's lack of emphasis on strong, emotional accents in both symphonies, as though composing both works were relatively rational exercises which Schumann practiced eagerly (We know now from his amply documented mental history that the composition of these symphonies were far from trivial exercises steeped in rational thinking.). These are interpretations which have emphasized almost to the exclusion of everything else, both brisk tempi and lighter orchestral textures (In stark contrast to notable recordings from conductor as emotionally dissimilar to each other as David Zinman, Daniel Barenboim, Rafael Kubelik, and Leonard Bernstein for example.). So I have to recommend to those thinking of purchasing this recording that they should regard it as a viable, fascinating alternative to others from the conductors I have mentioned; it is not the definitive recording I was hoping for from Harnoncourt and The Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Harnoncourt's Schumann shines in its intimacy April 16 2012
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nikolaus Harnoncourt is a conductor known for his ability to rethink scores. In Schumann, he starts out by using the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, a chamber orchestra of the highest quality, quite possibly the world's greatest. By using a small orchestra, Harnoncourt isn't going for the biggest of sounds. This is a risky move, as the music could easily become weak; we don't want to miss Schumann's romantic grandeur.

But Harnoncourt is used to taking risks. Despite his scaled down forces, the start of the "Rhenish" Symphony sounds ambitious. As is typical of Harnoncourt, he is trying to take a deeper look. He is determined that we understand Schumann's spontaneity, his fresh lyricism. As with so many of this conductor's other efforts, I feel the miraculous is accomplished. The music is at once unburdened and serious. There is an authentic feel to this performance (little vibrato in the strings) yet Harnoncourt employs a series of tempo fluctuations that are decidedly romantic. Listeners may find it hard to categorize this interpretation due to its unusual mixing of elements. To my ears, Harnoncourt is successful in committing himself to Schumann's meditative world. Be prepared for personal conducting.

Harnoncourt again surprises us by using the original version of the 4th Symphony, not the revised one regularly heard. There are differences in orchestration as well as some marked differences in the actual material, especially in the finale. Again, it's Harnoncourt's intimate conducting that makes the day. Everything is effortless but we don't miss Schumann's wistfulness. It's common to make this symphony rigorous and bold in texture (Bernstein and Sawallisch take this approach, as well as Harnoncourt himself in his later recording with Berlin). I appreciate that outlook, but Harnoncourt's freshness as witnessed here somehow moves me more. Timidity is never an issue, though. The music has more abandon and reaches into the beyond more than the other recordings mentioned. Considering Harnoncourt's small forces, that's no small accomplishment.

In many ways, this is a radical performance hard to categorize. If you dislike the unusual, this recording isn't for you. For those willing to give it a chance, it is inherently musical and ultimately convincing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Remarkable Aug. 9 2009
By Bruce Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Great stuff. As much as I have enjoyed Harnoncourt's interpretations in the past, I was surprised at how much liked this set. In addition to the usual pleasant surprise of his ur text scoring and performance, the playing and sound of the COE is fresh and bright. This is a welcome companion to the Szell and Kubelik recordings I have loved for so long. I should say though that I have based this review on the recordings of the Warner Classics (nee Teldec) box set B000PKG52C which is sadly of out of print.


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