Schubert/Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in D; Symphony No. 3 in E flat (Rhenish)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert/Schumann
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 in D; Symphony No. 3 in E flat (Rhenish)
PERFORMER: NDR SO/Günter Wand
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61876 2 DDD
Schubert’s attempts to come to terms with the symphonic tradition are evident in his Third Symphony, in which a wide range of influences is unified by a characteristically cantabile intonation to produce music which is both poetic and relaxed. Wand’s sensitivity for colour and timbre is revealed through superb orchestral balance which eloquently expresses the music’s inherent character: the spaciousness of the opening Adagio gives way to a buoyant Allegro; careful phrasing in the second movement is followed by a strongly accented Minuet, and the finale provides a cheerfully effervescent conclusion.

Advertisement

The Rhenish Symphony was Schumann’s last and most convincing attempt to solve the problems posed by symphonic form, and this version fully captures the work’s expressive range. Wand’s customary expert handling of textures and careful attention to detail convincingly conveys the symphony’s broad structure in which the progression from the ebullient opening movement to the sunny and genial mood of the second, the sustained orchestral transparency of the third and the solemn yet warmly poetic fourth, culminates winningly in the triumphant and happy finale.

Advertisement

The crisp spontaneity of these performances and the vivid clarity of the live recording make this a thoroughly enjoyable issue. Nicholas Rast