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Symphonies No. 1 & 4 (Po, Thieleman)

Philharmonia Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Nov 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00005QBDL
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,665 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sym No.1 in B flat, Op.38 'Spring': 1. Andante Un Poco Maestoso - Allegro Molto Vivace
2. Sym No.1 in B flat, Op.38 'Spring': 2. Larghetto -
3. Sym No.1 in B flat, Op.38 'Spring': 3. Scherzo. Molto Vivace
4. Sym No.1 in B flat, Op.38 'Spring': 4. Allegro Animato E Grazioso
5. Sym No.4 in d, Op.120: Ziemlich Langsam - Lebhaft -
6. Sym No.4 in d, Op.120: Romanze. Ziemlich Langsam -
7. Sym No.4 in d, Op.120: Scherzo. Lebhaft -
8. Sym No.4 in d, Op.120: Langsam - Lebhaft

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the perfect versions 27 Oct 2012
By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Christian Thielemann always impresses as a conductor who can span the breadth of vision of the great conductors of the past and a certain kind of scrupulousness that is very much of the present. In this latter aspect he is much aided by a very spacious acoustic that has real presence as well, allowing these works to strike you first of all for their sonic beauty. However the give in the phrasing, the tendency towards broader tempos with no loss of dramatic tension, come very much from him. He really illustrates how rhythmic does not necessarily mean especially fast (in both first movements, for instance), and shows a very sensitive way with the pulse at all times. The Philharmonia show themselves to stand with any orchestra in the world as they sound here - everything breathes with complete naturalness, and the recording really puts paid to any lingering notion that maybe Schumann wasn't a very good orchestrator - the sonorities he uses are absolutely beautiful, both cushioning and dramatic. I'm sure he would have liked the sound achieved by Thielemann and his players very much.
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Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly inferior 2 Sep 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Though it's been over two weeks since I first heard this recording, I am still somewhat in shock over its inferiority. I suppose I wouldn't be so surprised if this recording wasn't made by Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most respected labels in classical music recording. As another reviewer indicated, about 30 seconds into the introduction of the first movement of the Fourth Symphony, there is a definite and noticeable "jump" of about one second. I initially thought this was a flaw in the disc, so I returned it to get another one. However, I found, to my horror, that that disc exhibited the same jump. It, therefore, couldn't have been a problem with the disc, but a problem with the editing or with the master tapes. Before I returned the disc, I contacted DG to see whether they knew anything about this. To their credit, they diligently pursued the matter, but to their discredit, they did not hear the flaw that I heard.
I already own Thielemann's other recordings of Schumann's symphonies, and I wanted to round out my collection with this. Unfortunately, however, this otherwise fine recording is marred by a fatal flaw, and therefore I must recommend that the collector look elsewhere for worthy recordings of Schumann's symphonies.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft-grained, romantic styling that can be very poetic 23 Feb 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A newcomer to this Schumann First and Fourth from Thielemann would be hard pressed to know what it's like from the previous reviewers. The five-star review claims that the sytle here is like Masur and Kubelik when in fact those conductors prefer Schumann to be swift, bright, and extroverted while Thielemann is the opposite: this is measured, carefully molded, poetic Schumann to the extreme. The negative reviews carp about the recording quality, which is actually very fine, absent a single editing glitch.

So let's start from scratch. Clearly Thielemann is bucking the modern trend of making the German classics swift and lean. Does he succeed? I think on the whole he does. Begin with the slow movement of the "Spring" Sym. and you will kow immediately if you like his surging, soft-grained, almost dreamy approach. Thielemann was more distinctive early in his career, but if you check his recent Parsifal and Tristan, you'll hear the same soft grain and neo-romantic sensibility. Frankly, I was intrigued and my attention never wandered. Whether you like it or not -- and some might carp that this is just imitaiton Furtwangler -- this conductor clearly has something original to say, and that alone is much appreciated.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst recording ever made? 11 Feb 2002
By Tom Gauterin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Good grief. Having bought Christian Thielemann's splendid recordings Schumann's Second(an especially marvellous interpretation) and Third Symphonies, I was looking forward to hearing what insights he could bring to the First and Fourth. Unfortunately, the resulting CD contains the worst performances of any pieces of the central repertoire that I(and a number of friends whose musical opinions I value) have ever heard. I am in a particularly advantageous position to appreciate just how dreadful the performance of the Fourth is since, in the week when I bought this recording, I conducted the piece twice. The First Symphony, while sluggish and with little feel for instrumental colour, is marginally more successful but most of the comments about the Fourth can be applied to that piece too, more's the pity. To start at the beginning: there is a dreadful edit thirty seconds in to the first movement of the Fourth, when a clarinet pops up from nowhere. Surely, if Deustche Grammophon are willing to pay the huge expenses of hiring a conductor, orchestra and recording team, they could iron out errors like this? Sonic mistakes aside, the performance is simply awful. Thielemann actually succeeds in making the Philharmonia(who, believe me, are one of the world's very best orchestras) sound unpleasant. The balances throughout are poor; chiefly, the winds, brass and timpani are muffled behind a thick blanket of string sound and there is seemingly no attempt to ensure precision of ensemble. Entries are messy on an unacceptably large number of occasions(more than this orchestra would flunk live) and, as a result, the symphony sounds monochrome and slack. Thielemann's tempos are, uniformly, far too slow; in the first movement of the Fourth, he finally reaches the tempo he should have started with by the end of the movement by producing an unmarked accelerando. The Romanze is also far too sluggish; it doesn't sound beautiful, just stodgy. Similar problems affect the finale(in which, I was dismayed to find having already suffered through 65 minutes of this CD, Thielemann observes the big repeat). So much for the playing and timings. As for the actual interpretation, Thielemann does actually suggest that he has no understanding of sonata form(or indeed any musical sense) whatsoever. Almost every interpretative gesture he makes weakens the structure of the symphony. The most glaring example is in the first movement. Around bar 130(and at the repeat), after the dramatic pauses that Schumann indicates, Thielemann inserts the most tasteless(and, not surprisingly, unmarked) ritardando that I've ever heard. Although the passage is marked 'dolce', there should be no slowing since this breaks the line of the movement. Conducting the piece myself, I went to great lengths to ensure that my violinists stayed in tempo. Similarly, 'dolce' does not mean 'produce enough vibrato that you get the fiddle to sound like a Wagnerian soprano.' Thielemann, however, is more than happy to do just that.
There are, it seems, two ways of interpreting Schumann's 4th: a)emphasise its continuity(a la Gunter Wand, whose RCA recording is currently unavailable) or b)emphasise differences(as Harnoncourt does in his Berlin Philharmonic recording). Thielemann succeeds neither in one of these options nor in forging his own way forward. In sum, this is a badly played(although frankly I'm not surprised that the Philharmonia sound fed up of the whole mess), poorly recorded(nasty 'glassy' string sound), utterly witlessly interpreted performance. It's a waste of money, an insult to the composer and what is, thankfully, an increasingly rare item: a total artistic disgrace. Avoid it and stick to Wand, Kubelik or Harnoncourt.
3.0 out of 5 stars Schumann robbed of momentum 29 Oct 2012
By RLB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
While the recordings are clear enough as modern digital recordings are these days, Thielemann's tempos are romantic slow and "draggy" and he fails to define the phrasing and lyric qualities of Schumann's symphonies. Certainly no match for Sawallisch/EMI. Here however accurate the Philharmonia's playing and the depth of instrumental tone, the lingering tempi and smooth phrasing never catch fire to reveal the genius of Schumann.
I found myself likeing the recorded musical detail, but was always wanting for the phrasing, dynamics, instrumental counterpoint to "happen".
The additional overtures etc did nothing for me they sound like professional rehearsal run through recordings. The Manfred overture seem neutered. No reason to expect better than Sawallish/EMI in robust analog sound. Bernstein Schumann (DG) is an era gone by and Karajan/DG - dry sound and underwhelming performances. JOhn Eliot Gardners performances on period instruments never did much for me. I haven't heard Sinopoli other than public radio. Except for Schumann collectors or Thielemann die-hards, this is mediocre Schumann. My set with Rafael Kubleik Rundfunk Orchestra - CBS is an even odder duck.
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