Pacific Northwest Schumann
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 10/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gerard Schwarz has led the Seattle Symphony with distinction for a number of years and has produced a sizable discography for the Delos label. Many of those recordings, especially of 20th Century American music, have been lavishly praised by the critics. In this case, Schwarz and his estimable orchestra turn their attention back to the 19th century and German Romantic composer Robert Schumann. This impressive set of Schumann's major orchestral works is just shy of being complete, missing only a couple of overtures and the concertos for violin and cello. Performances are warm and winning, as is the recorded sound. Perhaps some listeners will miss the kind of thrust and excitement that conductors like Bernstein and George Szell (both on Sony; avoid Bernstein's later DG recordings) bring to this music. But there is much to be said for Schwarz's more leisurely, "gemuetlich" approach. The "Rhenish" symphony and the "Overture, Scherzo and Finale" are particularly successful, the former recalling Bruno Walter's classic recording of the 1940s (also available as a Sony reissue). Not a first choice, perhaps, but very musical renderings of a composer whose music responds well to poet conductors."