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  Warner Music (Japan) -
  WPGS-50138/40 (3 discs)
  Schumann: The Four Symphonies - Sawallisch
  Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Op. 38 “Spring”, Symphony No. 4 in D minor Op. 120, Symphony No. 2 in C major Op. 61, Overture, Scherzo and Finale Op. 52, Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 97 “Rhenish”, Manfred Overture Op. 115

Staatskapelle Dresden
Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recorded: 1-12, September 1972, Lukaskirche, Dresden
Producers: David Mottley, Dieter-Gerhard Wörm
Balance Engineer: Claus Strüben
Remastering Engineer: Simon Gibson
  Formerly TOGE-12098/100

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Submitted by sunnydaler
Reviews: 1

Site review by akiralx July 31, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:
One of the finest of all Schumann symphony cycles is here given a new lease of life in EMI Japan's hybrid stereo three SACD set. One more disc than the EMI Great Recordings of the Century incarnation - but unlike that set, here the Manfred Overture is included.

Sonically this set is marginally but clearly finer than the GROC set which itself is very enjoyable. The soundstage now is a tad wider, but the sounds is also noticeably cleaner with no real tape background and greater presence. The brass in the opening pages of the Spring symphony have a tangible rasp which isn't really present in the RBCD set. I listened to a Sony SACD player via my Stax earspeaker system. Generally the richness of the Lukaskirche acoustic is maintained but with more spacious clarity.

I had always valued the Spring and Rhenish symphonies above all from this set, considering them the finest ever recorded, but I had forgotten how vigorously Sawallisch shapes the opening movement of the Fourth (in its usual revised version), the companion to the Spring on disc one. This compares very favourably to Harnoncourt's live Berlin account on Teldec which has been my first choice for a few years.

The strings play beautifully throughout the entire set, of course, with ideal warmth and clarity - in fact Sawallisch's autobiography was entitled 'For the Sake of Clarity'. Similarly the brass fanfares about three minutes into the opening movement of the Second symphony are superbly caught here, ideally 'placed' within the spacious aural picture. I also approve of the perfect pacing of the Adagio espressivo, touching in its simplicity. The same applies to the famous Cologne Cathedral-inspired slow movement of the Rhenish, marked Feierlich ('spiritual') and described by one critic as the composer's 'most majestic orchestral tone poem'.

In fact the Rhenish perhaps benefits most from the high-resolution mastering, as its opening Lebhaft movement explodes with near-ideal clarity and warmth. The whole performance is one I have loved for many years and it was wonderful to hear it again sounding as fresh as it must have done in Dresden during those first two weeks in September 1972.

Works: 6  

Robert Schumann - Manfred - Overture and Incidental Music, Op. 115
Robert Schumann - Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52
Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 1 in B flat, Op. 38 "Spring"
Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61
Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 "Rhenish"
Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120