Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

image for Schumann At 200. CD Review: The Complete Symphonies The Rhine. Possibly.

Schumann: Complete Symphonies; Konzertstück.

Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Fabio Luisi

Pierre Noxious writes:

I don't have any gigs to see this week (don't fancy any of the Proms at all, to be perfectly honest) so I thought I'd better get this Orfeo release out of the way (record companies can't half get arsey if you don't review what they send you - 'specially box sets).

Did you know that some people reckon Schumann was the greatest composer of all time? Yup. That's what they reckon.

There's a proper fuss being made about him this year, because it's the 200th anniversary of his birth. You can't open a magazine without reading something about him.

But it's not as though we haven't heard all this stuff before, is it?

Anyway the guy in Gramophone magazine (they never ask me to do anything for them!) said he liked "the manifest affection that glows from every bar" of the performance. Not sure what that's supposed to mean but there is some excellent racket on these discs.

Especially good is the Rhenish - now that's a proper tune, isn't it?

And of course there's the unfinished one. Never did get to the bottom of why he didn't finish that (I'll look into it and let you know what I dig up). It's a shame it's not finished because it's all right. Still, suppose you could pretend it's complete and then it's not a problem.

Finally, there's the Konzertstück for horns. Look, this means Concertino... they didn't write Complete Symphonies in German on the cover, so why Konzertstück? Just being flash.

We music critics have our moments. When I was preparing this article at the weekend, my wife, Olivia, caught me puzzling over the sleeve notes.

"What's the matter?" She asked.
"Well," I said: "This complete Schumann symphonies - I can't find the
Great C Major! and there's no explanation."
"You ninny!" She howled. "You're confusing SchuMANN with SchuBERT!"
Oh, how we laughed.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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