Franz Schubert – String Quintet – Amsterdam Sinfonietta Soloists (2015)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 00:52:27 minutes | 2,07 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Digital Booklet | © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: Stadsgehoorzaal, Leiden, 1-2 december 2013

‘The richest and most productive eighteen months in music history’ is how the English composer Benjamin Britten described Franz Schubert’s final period, when works including the magisterial String Quintet in C major saw the light of day. For besides the quintet, Die Winterreise (Winter Journey), the Symphony in C major (‘the Great’) and the last three piano sonatas flowed from Schubert’s pen. Since Beethoven’s death in 1827, Schubert was engrossed in the development of largescale musical forms, and certainly succeeded in this in the fifty minutes of the quintet. It is not the music of a man who knows he will die by the age of thirty-one, but music born of an almost volcanic ambition, comparable to that of Beethoven when he entrusted his string quartets opus 18 to paper. Notable is Schubert’s preference for a second cello, shared with Boccherini, rather than a second viola as in the quintets of Mozart and Beethoven. Although the four-movement plan of Schubert’s quintet is entirely in the classical tradition of his age, it is already quite clear from the first two movements that there is mention of a grand scheme, as they slowly unfold to reveal a large-scale structure not unlike the later symphonic cathedrals of Anton Bruckner (who was four years old at the time).

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Sviatoslav Richter at Carnegie Hall, New York City, December 23, 1960 – A Beethoven Recital (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:46:13 minutes | 2,13 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Front Cover | © Sony Music
Recorded: Carnegie Hall, New York City, December 23, 1960

GREAT MOMENTS AT CARNEGIE HALL :: Ever since its opening night in May 1891 Carnegie Hall has held sway as the undisputed shrine of classical music in America. It was and remains the essential venue for all great artists. To celebrate Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary Sony Classical in cooperation with Carnegie Hall is proud to present an extraordinary new 43-CD box set of treasures from the RCA and Columbia archives featuring live recordings from many of the world’s greatest musicians. This unique deluxe edition contains a complete previously unreleased piano recital by Sviatoslav Richter and is accompanied by a 104-pages coffee table book which contains notes by Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi as well as many facsimile documents and photographs.

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Robert Schumann – Complete Symphonic Works, Vol. VI – WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, Heinz Holliger (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:16:01 minutes | 750 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: audite.de | Digital Booklet | © Audite Musikproduktion
Recorded: Philharmonie Köln, April 12-16, 2010, March 2-5, 2015 (Overture ‘Manfred’ & Symphony ‘Zwickauer’)

Concluding audite’s Schumann edition, this CD combines the first symphony with the late overtures, whose compactness displays the composer’s symphonic mastery.

The overtures, all written after 1847, represent an essential complement to the symphonies: seen in relation to the symphonies, they take a similar position as do the Konzertstücke relative to the concertos. Schumann conceived them partly as preludes to operas, oratorios or incidental works, partly as independent pieces. On the one hand, they were intended to provide “an image of the whole”; on the other, their purpose was to introduce, leading into the drama. Beside larger- and smaller-scale vocal works, and alongside the poetic renewal of the symphony, they bear testimony to the great significance of literature in Schumann’s musical thought and style.

The overtures are supplemented with Schumann’s first symphony, the so-called “Zwickau”. It was the composer’s first attempt in the symphonic form to be performed publicly, even though the work remained incomplete.

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Robert Schumann – Complete Symphonic Works, Vol. III – Oren Shevlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, Heinz Holliger (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 00:52:58 minutes | 485 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: audite.de | Digital Booklet | © Audite Musikproduktion
Recorded: Köln, Philharmonie, April 8-11, 2013

Featuring the Cello Concerto and the second version of the D minor Symphony, this CD presents two major works that Schumann composed and revised during his time as music director in Düsseldorf. In both works, the movements of the classical model merge into one another without interruption. By transforming themes and musical codes he creates a stream of thought and coherence akin to the course of a narration or abstract theatre. His original version of the D minor Symphony of 1841 was pioneering in its literarisation of musical form. When he began revising it in 1851, the first Symphonic Poems of Franz Liszt had been performed: they aspired to a greater fusion of music and literature. In his revision of the D minor Symphony, Schumann discreetly reinforced the traditional symphonic elements of the work. The obvious references to Mendelssohn in his Cello Concerto suggest that he regarded multi-part forms as “narrations without words”, or as “bigger siblings” of the “songs without words”. According to Schumann, neither genre required explanation via a literary programme.

The original version of the D minor Symphony is included in the first volume of this series. Both versions, whose relationship remains an object of divisive discussion to the present day, can therefore be compared to one another.

Holliger’s interpretations draw on a life-long study of Schumann’s oeuvre, thought, personality and fate. Holliger’s approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores thanks to a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately graded dynamics and invigorating tempi. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator is thus refreshingly rectified.

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Robert Schumann – Complete Symphonic Works, Vol. II – WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, Heinz Holliger (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:06:50 minutes | 674 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: audite.de | Digital Booklet | © Audite Musikproduktion
Recorded: Köln, Philharmonie January 23-27, 2012 (Symphony No.2),  March 19-23, 2012 (Symphony No.3)

With this CD, audite is presenting the second volume of the complete recording of Robert Schumann’s orchestral works. The series includes all the symphonies (with both versions of the Fourth) as well as all the overtures and concertos.

The Second and Third Symphonies, according to the usual numbering, passed through contrasting histories of reception. Whereas the ‘Rhenish’ remained relatively popular, the C major Symphony was received by contemporaries as trend-setting, but receded into the background from the late nineteenth century onwards. At this time, criticism was primarily levelled at its instrumentation, which had still been praised after its premiere. Heinz Holliger and the WDR Symphony Orchestra have recorded the works with an orchestra of the same size that was available to Schumann. In so doing, they not only uncover the sonic ideal of the composer, but also its consistent and convincing realisation.

Holliger’s performances draw on a lifetime study of Schumann’s music, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores through a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately gradated dynamics and invigorating tempos. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator receives a refreshing and well-grounded correction.

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Robert Schumann – Complete Symphonic Works, Vol. I – WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln, Heinz Holliger (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:12:09 minutes | 704 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: audite.de | Digital Booklet | © Audite Musikproduktion

This CD launches a complete series of recordings of Robert Schumann’s orchestral works, performed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Heinz Holliger. The series will contain all the symphonies (including both versions of the Fourth) as well as all the overtures and concertos. Holliger’s performances draw on a lifetime study of Schumann’s music, thought, personality and fate. His approach imparts lightness and lucidity to these opulent scores through a hierarchical balance of parts, delicately gradated dynamics and invigorating tempos. The widespread image of this romantic composer as a weak orchestrator receives a refreshing and well-grounded correction.

Volume 1 of the series presents the First Symphony in B-flat major (Op. 38), Overture, Scherzo and Finale (Op. 52) and the original 1841 version of the Fourth Symphony in D minor (Op. 120).

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