Schumann Symphonies

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

In honor of Robert Schumann's birthday, we asked you which of his four symphonies you'd like to hear. You told us you wanted to hear his Symphony No. 3 in E-flat, Op. 97 and we played it at noon.


Symphony No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 38

Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 61

Symphony No. 3 in E-flat, Op. 97

Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

Comments [10]

Louis from Staten Island

Forget the Robert Schumann symphonies. Rather than rebroadcast these very well worn works from the standard rep, why not tempt the listenership with some rarely heard masterpiece -- say, the 6th Symphony -- by the 20th Century American composer, William Schuman. Or poll the listenership as to which of Schuman's works they'd prefer to hear. Results would be much more interesting. Duhh, guess which is going to be chosen this time round? Rhenish to be sure. zzzzzzzzz

Jun. 08 2011 12:00 PM
Barry from Millburn, NJ

Make mine #2. Everything Schumann wrote is a human document where we can sense his nature and impending illness - even the little stuff like Scenes from Childhood. And the slow movement from #2 tears your heart out.

Jun. 08 2011 11:57 AM

Any one would be fine, but I chose #4 today. It's the most exciting, to my mind, but admittedly some of the others have attributes lacking in this one. No matter which one prevails, I will be happy.

Jun. 08 2011 11:53 AM

Do not have Adobe Flash and am not authorized for downloading. Would like to vote on Sym. 2. Thank you.

Jun. 08 2011 11:00 AM
Robert Marble from New Mexico

Although all of Schumann's symphonies are beautiful, I voted for number 4 as a favorite, but will be glad to hear any one of them.

Former choister at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Robert Marble, DA, ABOT

Jun. 08 2011 10:45 AM
Frank Beck from New York

Schumann's orchestration is sometimes criticized, but not, I think, by people who have looked closely at the scores. When they are performed by a chamber orchestra of the size the composer had in mind, the first three symphonies sound fine, as does the original version of No. 4. (Schumann doubled many of the parts in his revision of that work, creating some problems.) Try the performances by Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and you'll see how swift-footed and transparent the scores really are.

Jun. 08 2011 10:37 AM

I'm a former trombonist and I vote for #3, the 'Rhenish' Symphony. The fourth movement is one of the most incredible of all trombone parts in the standard symphonic repetoire and is used as an audition piece for landing a part in symphonic organizations. It's worth hearing again and again and luxuriating in the rich sonority of the sound. Despite the many comments about Schumann's instrumentation and how dense it can be, he got this one precisely correct.

Jun. 08 2011 10:31 AM
Paula Whitney Best from New York City

Good Day! While they are all really terrific, if I had to vote I would vote first for #1, the Spring and second for #3, the Rhenish.

"See" you at 12:00noon.

Thank you.

Paula Whitney Best, MA, JD

Jun. 08 2011 10:08 AM

I love Schumann's piano works - especially the Fantasy in C - but it's the symphonies that are more likely to attract new listeners to his music. They have a mix of very kinetic energy, wistfulness and vulnerability that you won't hear anywhere else.

Jun. 08 2011 08:36 AM
Michael Meltzer

Why don't we scrap the symphonies and vote between Schiff playing the Davidsbündlertänze, de Larrocha playing Carnaval, Horowitz playing the C major Fantasy and Ashkenazy playing the Novelette #8?
Then play all of them.

Jun. 08 2011 06:19 AM

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