Various Artists

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Frühlingsträume Review

by Blair Sanderson

Frühlingsträume: Dreams of Spring is a compilation in Berlin Classics' Basics series, containing 12 tracks of music associated with that vernal time. Some aspects of this disc may be a little puzzling, and not least is the placement of the first and fourth movements of Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, "Spring," at the program's beginning and end; this splitting, and the omission of the two middle movements, is likely to confuse beginners and make the symphony seem divisible, when it really should be heard in its entirety. Another peculiarity is the omission of such famous pieces as Christian Sinding's Rustle of Spring and Voices of Spring by Johann Strauss II, which would seem to be de rigueur for any sampler on this theme. Yet even with those slights, the season is well served by most of the choices here, and even though the orientation is heavily Viennese, with the preponderance of pieces by Franz Schubert, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Josef Strauss (with only a passing nod to the Italian Antonio Vivaldi with an excerpt from "Spring" of the Four Seasons), listeners may be assured that spring happens everywhere, not just Austria. The performances are adequate for introductory purposes or quick reference, and Berlin Classics' sound is decently engineered for clarity and even volume levels.

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