Antonio Pappano / Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Schumann: Symphonies 2 & 4

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For this 2016 release on ICA Classics, Antonio Pappano leads the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia in live performances of Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C major, recorded in 2012, and the Symphony No. 4 in D minor, recorded in 2010. Some critics have discounted Schumann's symphonies for their heavy orchestration, particularly in the revised version of the Symphony No. 4 heard here, mostly because of the muddy textures and aural fatigue that result from excessive doublings of woodwinds and strings. Typically, conductors manage these problems by adjusting dynamics and achieving greater clarity through phrasing and crisp articulation. Pappano certainly follows this course, and draws out clear details and energizes the Santa Cecilia orchestra to play as cleanly as possible, so the doublings are minimized, the counterpoint has crisp definition, and attention is properly focused on the symphonic argument. On the whole, these performances are consistent with mainstream interpretations in tempo, pacing, and expression, and the musicians play up to their usual high standards of excellence.

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