Schumann: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4; Manfred Overture

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COMPOSERS: Schumann
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4; Manfred Overture
PERFORMER: Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell
CATALOGUE NO: MH2K 62349 ADD 1958

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Szell was a committed advocate of Schumann’s orchestral music, and the booklet includes a convincing 1960 essay for the New York Times in which he stoutly defends the composer from attacks upon his instrumentation. He encourages conductors to add their personal retouchings, and does so himself. The results are lovingly musical performances; a skittish yet immaculately controlled Scherzo in No. 2 and sonorous brass choruses in No. 3 (notoriously hard to tune the trombones) are the highlights of these thoroughly recommended accounts. Christopher Fifield