This is certainly among the finest recordings of Schumann's orchestral music ever made, standing alongside the classic recordings of Szell, Sawallisch, Solti, Kubelik, Klemperer, and above all Walter and Furtwängler. How could this be? Because Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra have accomplished the impossible: they make the music sound new. They accomplish this miracle in part through brilliant programming. Of the four works here, only the Second Symphony is standard-repertoire Schumann while the rest range from his hardly known overtures to Faust and Julius Caesar to the only relatively recently re-discovered original version of his Fourth Symphony. But the orchestra accomplishes this miracle more because of its performances, all of which have the excitement of world premieres. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra is a chamber orchestra in name only: the power of tone, the strength of sonorities, and the vigor of attacks would blow down the walls of any room smaller than a full-scale concert hall. With it as his instrument, Dausgaard creates performances that are at once musically lucid and emotionally passionate. The myth that Schumann couldn't orchestrate is demolished as one hears in these performances the work of an inspired composer working at a red-hot heat to transform into music the deepest feelings of his heart and the profoundest thoughts in his head. Recorded in stunning super audio sound that seats the listener 10 feet in front of the conductor, this disc should be heard by anyone who loves Schumann's orchestral music.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61|
|Scenes From Goethe's Faust for vocal soloists, chorus & orchestra (or piano), WoO 3|
|Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120|