Flemish Radio Choir

Schumann: Choral Works

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Overshadowed by his orchestral, chamber, keyboard, and vocal music, the choral works of Robert Schumann are seriously neglected and have become a specialized interest for devotees of the genre. Yet some of his most charming music was written for choir, and in the hands of a really capable group, the music is as appealing as any of Schumann's most popular songs or miniatures. The Flemish Radio Choir, a small ensemble under the direction of Bo Holten, is one such group, and its beautifully blended voices lend these choral songs a purity and sweetness that are wholly appropriate for Schumann's poignant harmonies and lyrical settings of German poetry. Most of these songs are performed a cappella, which creates a rather light and airy effect in the resonant studio acoustics, though the numbers with piano accompaniment, played by Inge Spinette, are grouped at the end of the program, so the change of sound isn't unsettling. Because there are few recordings of Schumann's choral works, and even fewer performed with such eloquence and polish, this disc may present the best opportunity to hear this overlooked repertoire.

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