With this CD, Audite present the second volume in their complete recording of Robert Schumann‘s orchestral works. The series includes all the symphonies (with both versions of the Fourth) as well as all the overtures and concertos. The Second and Third Symphonies, according to the usual numbering, passed through contrasting histories of reception.
Whereas the ‘Rhenish’ remained relatively popular, the C major Symphony was received by contemporaries as trend-setting, but receded into the background from the late nineteenth century onwards. At this time, criticism was primarily levelled at its instrumentation, which had still been praised after its premiere.
Heinz Holliger and the WDR Symphony Orchestra have recorded the works with an orchestra of the same size that was available to Schumann. In so doing, they not only uncover the sonic ideal of the composer, but also its consistent and convincing realisation. Holliger‘s performances draw on a lifetime study of Schumann‘s music, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores through a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately gradated dynamics and invigorating tempos. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator receives a refreshing and well-grounded correction.