Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
January 2008



Robert Schumann

Symphony No.1 in B flat Major, Op.38 (Spring Symphony)
1. I. Andante un poco maestoso – Allegro molto vivace 10:45
2. II. Larghetto 6:09
3. III. Scherzo. Molto vivace 5:41
4. IV. Allegro animato e grazioso 8:36

5. Overture to Schiller’s Braut von Messina, Op.100 8:34
6. Overture to the opera “Genoveva”, Op.81 8:18
7. Zwickau Symphony in G minor (1832 – 33) 10:44

Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op.52
8. I. Overture. Andante con moto – Allegro 6:15
9. II. Scherzo. Vivo 4:52
10. III. Finale. Allegro molto vivace 5:47


“Dausgaard is not the first conductor to use the 1841 version of the D minor Symphony… but… this performance, given by an orchestra of the size of Schumann himself would have known brings it vividly to life. Even more impressive… is the C major Second Symphony. …the first and last movements – the latter taken at a tremendous speed – are electrifying. As for the Adagio – the most heartrendingly beautiful piece of its kind between Schubert and Bruckner – it is quite wonderfully played, with a spellbinding pianissimo sound for its central fugato passage.” – BBC Music Magazine ****

“All this talk of Schumann’s stodgy orchestral writing…Rubbish! Evidence for the defence is simple: keep the orchestra slim and well balanced, the tempi lively and the textures clear and the calories positively fall away. Thomas Dausgaard, with just 38 players, turns the symphonic Schumann into a thoughtful athlete who burns energy while his mind spins.

Dausgaard opts for the 1841 original version of the Fourth Symphony, with its faltering, even abrupt, transition from an opening Andante to a fleet Allegro. It leaves a very different impression to the revision. The transition from Scherzo to finale is much as it is in the familiar 1851 version but the finale itself contains ‘new’ material and neither of the outer movements has repeats. All in all, it is less thick-set than its successor: Brahms preferred it.
The Second Symphony is similarly revealing with keen accents and prominent inner voices, the latter half of the slow introduction biting and muscular, the main Allegro superbly built. In the Scherzo Dausgaard slows and softens the bridge passage appealingly, accentuating the dizzy flight back to the main subject. In the achingly beautiful Adagio, top line and accompaniment seem to lean on each other to ease the pain, and in speeding for the finale’s second set Dausgaard intensifies the argument, making fresh sense of it.

BIS’s realistic sound quality helps the clarifying process and the timps (with hard sticks) have tremendous presence. A good idea, too, to include Schumann’s Julius Caesar and Faust overtures: strange, relatively late essays, equivocal music, slightly unhinged and played – appropriately enough – with a restless, slightly nervous edge.” – Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“…The playing throughout is first-rate, with often dazzling, thrilling faster movements, but also some beautifully shaped, tender slower music, and a real feeling for the emotional extremes that are at the heart of Schumann’s art.” – The Sunday Times (London)

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