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CHAN 9760
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CHAN 9760
Symphonies and Choral Ballades, Vol. 1

Schumann: Symphonies & Choral Ballades, Vol. 1

The Classical Shop
release date: October 1999

Originally recorded in 1997


Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Michael Schonwandt

Dietrich Henschel

baritone - Harpist*

Bo Anker Hansen

bass - King*

Marianne Rorholm

mezzo-soprano - Narrator*

Hanne Fischer

mezzo-soprano - Queen*

Roland Wagenfuhrer

tenor - Youth*

Danish National Symphony Choir


Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen


Claus Due

Brian Couzens



Jorn Jacobsen

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 73:27
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Symphonies and Choral Ballades, Vol. 1



Select Complete Single Disc for

Symphony No. 3 'Rhenish', Op. 97

  in E flat major - Es-Dur - mi bémol majeur  
1 I Lebhaft 9:56
2 II Scherzo 6:57
3 III Unbeschäftigt 5:36
4 IV Feierlich 6:21
5 V Lebhaft 6:00

Des Sängers Fluch, Op. 139*

  The Minstrel's Curse  
6 I Ziemlich lebhaft. 'Es stand in alten Zeiten' 2:46
  'In olden times there stood'  
7 II 'Die stunde ist gekommen!' 4:21
  'The hour is upon us!'  
8 III Feierlich. 'Schon steh'n die beiden Sänger' 3:32
  'Beneath the lofty pillars'  
9 IV Provençalisches Lied. 'In den Thalen der Provence' 2:12
  'From the fair valleys of Provence'  
10 V Etwas bewegter. 'Wie schlägt der Greis sie Seiten' 0:40
  'The old man plucks his harp strings'  
11 VI Lebhaft. 'Genug des Frühlings und der Lust!' 1:00
  'Enough of springtime and of zest!'  
12 VII Ballade. Sehr gemessen. 'In der hohen Hall' saß König Sifrid' 2:34
  'In his lofty hall sat Sifrid the King'  
13 VIII Ruhiges Tempo. 'Nicht diese wilden blut'gen Lieder' 2:29
  'Not this bloddy, fierce refrain.  
14 IX Die Viertel wie vorher. 'Den frühling künder der Orkane Sausen' 5:15
  'The tempest's roar proclaims that spring is coming'  
15 X 'Kamt ihr hier her' 1:45
  'Have you come here'  
16 XI 'Fangt an!' 3:46
  'Now begin!'  
17 XII Langsam. 'Und wie vom Sturm zerstoben' 2:06
  'As though by stormwind scattered'  
18 XIII 'Weh euch, ihr stolzen Hallen!' 2:48
  'I curse you, haughty palace!'  
19 XIV Langsam. 'Der Alte hat's gerufen' 3:23
  'The old man cried to heaven'  
Michael Schonwandt and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra are skilled exponents of Schumann’s large-scale works.

This disc couples the extremely rare choral work Des Sängers Fluch with the well-known Symphony No. 3. There is currently only one other recording of Des Sängers Fluch.

The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Michael Schonwandt have been extremely successful with previous projects, including their Kuhlau Overtures disc (CHAN 9648) and the Kuhlau/Greig Piano Concertos disc (CHAN 9699)

In a characteristic surge of creative euphoria Schumann worked rapidly on the ‘Rhenish’ Symphony, sketching and orchestrating the whole work in late 1850, and conducting it in February the following year. With its elemental, open-air feeling the ‘Rhenish’ Symphony is the most bracing and spontaneous of all Schumann’s later works and probably the last of all his compositions to exude a sense of unalloyed optimism.

A spirit of ‘joie de vivre’ is immediately established by the first movement’s exuberant syncopated opening theme, offset by the second theme, a gently plaintive valse triste. The Scherzo is a Ländler, whose main theme has a rolling bucolic gait. The third movement, a lyrical intermezzo in Schumann’s most intimate fireside vein, is a point of repose at the heart of the work, its tender poerty enhanced by warm, luminous scoring. A fourth movement of polyphonic grandeur can be seen as an introduction to the Finale. The Finale itself is built on relaxed, clear-cut themes that release the tension of the fourth movement and recapture the alfresco spirit of the opening.

Schumann’s setting of Ludwig Uhland’s ballad ‘Des Sängers Fluch’ (The Minstrel’s Curse) was sketched and scored in three weeks in January 1852. The score was revised the following October, and did not appear in print until 1858. It contains some of Schumann’s most vivid and dramatic writing. The sombrely scored opening arioso for the narrator (alto) sets the work’s bardic tone. The most powerful and visionary music, in its free, flexible declamation, tortured chromaticism and lugubrious, highly suggestive orchestral colouring, looks forward to the mature operas of Wagner.

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