Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

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Belle
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Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Belle » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:59 pm

I'm preparing for a presentation on Klaus Tennstedt in a few weeks' time and this morning I've been listening to his version of the Schumann 3rd Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic. Well; what to make of this!! It's a big and bold Schumann from a Wagnerian aesthetic - broad in line, slowed down a little and with that big brass sound you're used to with Wagner. For me, Schumann's orchestrations have always been a little muddy but Tennstedt brings clarity to the line and you can hear the different instruments coming up from the back, as it were, and being heard; delicately and poetically and even 'conversational' in certain passages. The penultimate and last movements are the best in this work and Tennstedt builds the climax slowly and majestically.

At first hearing I was rather critical but after a second and subsequent hearings I felt that Tennstedt made a compelling case in liberating Schumann from his opaque orchestral shroud and replacing it with something quite different. There are shades of Mendelssohn, yes, but Wagner and Berlioz are the predominant influences for this conductor and his particular legerdemain.

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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Lance » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:41 pm

Sometimes, if you have an opportunity, you should check out the Mahler Edition of the four Schumann Symphonies. He re-orchestrated them. A good version: Decca 478 0037, 2CDs, with Riccardo Chailly conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Be interesting to hear your comments on his Rhenish!
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Belle
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Belle » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:23 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:41 pm
Sometimes, if you have an opportunity, you should check out the Mahler Edition of the four Schumann Symphonies. He re-orchestrated them. A good version: Decca 478 0037, 2CDs, with Riccardo Chailly conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Be interesting to hear your comments on his Rhenish!
I didn't know this and appreciate the information. I'm unable to find any examples to hear on U-Tube. Mahler obviously found Schumann's symphonies dense and opaque in orchestration. I feel that the composer's real strength lay in music for the piano and lieder, though the themes in the symphonies are also quite compelling too.

maestrob
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by maestrob » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:57 am

Mahler's re-orchestrations of Schumann's Symphonies make sense, in light of the changes in modern instruments (range & sonority). I find Chailly's interpretation immensely enjoyable. George Szell also re-wrote Schumann's Symphonies to accommodate the ranges of modern instruments (mostly woodwinds) in the early stereo era: very well done, IMHO.

Schumann's Symphonies have always been problematic when played by a larger, modern orchestra, but they work fine with , say 60-70 players. Roy Goodman has a good set on RCA with original instruments as an example.

Belle
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Belle » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:06 pm

This is very interesting! Schumann had problems as a conductor and seems not to have understood orchestras very well; he lacked authority in keeping them together. I wonder if this lack of understanding translated to his composing for an orchestra?

maestrob
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:59 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:06 pm
This is very interesting! Schumann had problems as a conductor and seems not to have understood orchestras very well; he lacked authority in keeping them together. I wonder if this lack of understanding translated to his composing for an orchestra?
No, not at all, IMHO. Schumann was very much a composer of his own time, and he wrote very well (like Schubert) for the orchestras of his day, which were quite different from the modern instruments that we hear now. I heartily recommend Roy Goodman's set of the Symphonies, as it will accustom your ears to the sonorities of the era. If you make a direct comparison to Solti/Vienna (which is my favorite recording with modern instruments), you can hear the difference right away. Both are quite successful. Following with the score, Szell's revisions are also interesting, although they never caught on in later recordings nor were they published TMK.

As for keeping the orchestra together, Schumann's radical tempo ideas were quite novel in his day, especially to those used to playing Mozart and Schubert: it's no wonder he had difficulty in rehearsing and conducting his works. Also, modern conducting technique had not yet been invented. New ideas always take time to germinate and solidify.

Belle
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Belle » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:32 pm

Interesting comments, especially those about period instrument performances (which I mostly prefer myself). I'll try and get those Goodman versions from Amazon; thanks for the tip. From what I've read about Schumann (quite a lot) the suggestion was that it was his uncertainty and timidity which caused him to fail as a conductor. He feebly complained (to Brahms?), "they don't keep time"! Even then it appears that authority and confidence with people were some important prerequisites for conducting, in that still-nascent phase, which Schumann seemed to lack. He especially needed these qualities if he was going for "radical tempos".

I've listened to the first movement of Schumann's Symphony #1 with John Eliot Gardiner as I've not been able to hear the Goodman. This sounds like a good recording, though the sample was only small. What do you think of "Jeggy" Gardiner and his Orchestra Revolutionaire in these recordings? I absolutely already get the greater clarity of sound!!

maestrob
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:10 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:32 pm
Interesting comments, especially those about period instrument performances (which I mostly prefer myself). I'll try and get those Goodman versions from Amazon; thanks for the tip. From what I've read about Schumann (quite a lot) the suggestion was that it was his uncertainty and timidity which caused him to fail as a conductor. He feebly complained (to Brahms?), "they don't keep time"! Even then it appears that authority and confidence with people were some important prerequisites for conducting, in that still-nascent phase, which Schumann seemed to lack. He especially needed these qualities if he was going for "radical tempos".

I've listened to the first movement of Schumann's Symphony #1 with John Eliot Gardiner as I've not been able to hear the Goodman. This sounds like a good recording, though the sample was only small. What do you think of "Jeggy" Gardiner and his Orchestra Revolutionaire in these recordings? I absolutely already get the greater clarity of sound!!
In general, I'm not fond of Gardiner's Beethoven, so, frankly, I never bought his Schumann. FWIW, Goodman gets better reviews on amazon American than does Gardiner. Thus, no opinion yet until I hear Gardiner.

I'll agree with you that period instruments allow for much "clarity of sound."

Belle
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:28 pm

Well, I certainly appreciate your telling me about these period versions of Schumann. I'm not sure all are still in the current catalogue, from what I could tell on Amazon yesterday.

maestrob
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Re: Tennstedt's Schumann Symphony #3 (Rhenish)

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:24 pm

Hmmmm-----

Why not try ordering the Goodman from American amazon? I know it's available used at a reasonable price......

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https://www.amazon.com/Schumann-Symphon ... n+schumann

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