Audite present the third volume of the complete orchestral works by Robert Schumann in their series which comprises all the symphonies (including both versions of the Fourth Symphony in D minor) as well as all the overtures and concertos. Featuring the Cello Concerto and the second version of the D minor Symphony, this CD presents two major works that Schumann composed and revised during his time as music director in Düsseldorf. In both works, the movements of the classical model merge into one another without interruption. By transforming themes and musical codes he creates a stream of thought and coherence akin to the course of a narration or abstract theatre. His original version of the D minor Symphony of 1841 was pioneering in its literarisation of musical form. When he began revising it in 1851, the first Symphonic Poems of Franz Liszt had been performed: they aspired to a greater fusion of music and literature. In his revision of the D minor Symphony, Schumann discreetly reinforced the traditional symphonic elements of the work. The obvious references to Mendelssohn in his Cello Concerto suggest that he regarded multi-part forms as 'narrations without words', or as 'older siblings' of the 'Songs without Words'. According to Schumann, neither genre required explanation via a literary programme. The original version of the D minor Symphony was included in the first volume of this series for the purpose of comparison.
Holliger’s interpretations draw on a life-long study of Schumann’s oeuvre, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores thanks to a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately graded dynamics and invigorating tempi. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator is thus refreshingly rectified.