For reasons that evade easy understanding, EMI re-released Franz Welser-Möst's early-'90s recordings of pairs of symphonies by Schumann and Mendelssohn in 2008. Neither coupling was especially well regarded in its time, and the Mendelssohn pair was reissued as recently as 2001, making its re-reissue seven years later redundant. Still, for those listeners who missed them before, here they are again.
Unfortunately, time has not improved them. Then at the start of his international career, Welser-Möst was a capable technician who favored brisk tempos and bright colors over cogent developments and emotional drama, and his performances here are efficient without being effective. In Schumann's Second and Third symphonies, Welser-Möst takes the London Philharmonic on a lightning tour of German Romanticism with cursory stops at charm, fantasy, and sentiment. In Mendelssohn's "Scottish" and "Italian" symphonies, Welser-Möst and the same orchestra see the sights and sample the cuisine but never linger long enough to really get a feel for the country. With dozens of better recordings of these works available -- try Szell or Sawallisch's Schumann or Abbado or Maag's Mendelssohn -- these are hard to recommend except to Welser-Möst's fans. EMI's early digital sound is lean, light, and wholly without a sense of time or place.