Concluding audite’s Schumann edition, this CD combines the first symphony with the late overtures, whose compactness displays the composer’s symphonic mastery.
The overtures, all written after 1847, represent an essential complement to the symphonies: seen in relation to the symphonies, they take a similar position as do the Konzertstücke relative to the concertos. Schumann conceived them partly as preludes to operas, oratorios or incidental works, partly as independent pieces. On the one hand, they were intended to provide “an image of the whole”; on the other, their purpose was to introduce, leading into the drama. Beside larger- and smaller-scale vocal works, and alongside the poetic renewal of the symphony, they bear testimony to the great significance of literature in Schumann’s musical thought and style.
The overtures are supplemented with Schumann’s first symphony, the so-called “Zwickau”. It was the composer’s first attempt in the symphonic form to be performed publicly, even though the work remained incomplete.