Various Artists

Schumann Highlights

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Released to coincide with Robert Schumann's 200th birthday, this triple-disc highlights collection from Berlin Classics brings together selections from the symphonies, concertos, chamber works, keyboard pieces, and lieder, in performances that are consistently good, if not always among the finest available. The bulk of the selections are analog recordings from the catalog of VEB Deutsche Schallplatten Berlin, with some digital offerings included from Edel Records and Edel Classics, so there is a mix of recording technologies that becomes evident in the slightly uneven sound quality. Considering that any collection that ranged in dates from 1962 to 2004 would have a similar variability, that the small differences here are spread over three CDs, and that the tracks are generally well-balanced in volume and clarity, there is little cause for complaint. The program touches on the key works in Schumann's oeuvre, with most of the major pieces represented by single movements. The exception is the complete performance of the Symphony No. 4 in D minor by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Franz Konwitschny, an essential work and excellent performance that merits the complete presentation. Also worthy are the vocal selections from Frauenliebe und -leben, sung by Arleen Augér, and from Dichterliebe, performed by Peter Schreier, which are among the most characteristic examples of Schumann's artistic expression. Newcomers to Schumann's music will find this set an agreeable introduction, and others more experienced with this repertoire will find many of the choices attractive enough to seek out the original albums.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Kinderszenen, Op. 15
1 1:41
2 1:11
3 0:36
4 1:05
5 1:34
6 1:08
7 3:23
8 1:59
9 2:20
10 2:25
Alburm für die Jugend, Op. 68
11 0:56
12 1:17
13 2:02
14 0:38
15 0:45
16 2:01
17 2:05
18 1:22
19 2:24
Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42
20 2:45
21 3:51
22 1:40
23 3:26
24 4:49
25 2:19
Dichterliebe, Op. 48
26 1:45
27 0:32
28 0:52
29 1:11
30 1:30
31 0:59
32 2:55
33 5:26
34 1:13
35 4:28
36 2:17
37 1:58
blue highlight denotes track pick