Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann: Symphonies-No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann: Symphonies-No 2

Article excerpt


Symphonies--No 2, Op 61 (a); No 4, Op 120 (b)

Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Sir Antonio Pappano

ICA Classics (F) ICAC5139 (69' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, (b) November 2010, (a) November 2012

Perhaps surprisingly for a conductor so steeped in the operatic repertoire, the more abstract world of Schumann's symphonies seems a natural fit for Antonio Pappano. These live performances raise hopes for a companion volume pairing the more picturesque 'named' symphonies, the Spring and the Rhenish.

Pappano's obvious rapport with his Rome-based orchestra pays dividends in music that still bears the stigma of older, heavier performing styles. String attack is bouncy and woodwinds make some lovely sounds, even if they might have been brought ever so slightly forwards in the sound picture. Pappano acknowledges the importance of the brass instruments, too, in adding sheen and heft to Schumann's orchestral textures.

He is no speed merchant in the faster music: the Lebhaft of the Fourth's opening movement (in the more common revised version of 1851) is taken at less of a lick than on some other recordings and emerges as less storm-wracked, more windswept in its interplay of light and dark. …

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