SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

SAMUEL BARBER: First Symphony in One Movement; SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4 in D Minor – Bavarian State Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch – Farao Classics

Live recordings made during the 2003 Munich Opera Festival, but an orchestral program

Published on June 9, 2005

SAMUEL BARBER: First Symphony in One Movement; SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4 in D Minor – Bavarian State Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch – Farao Classics
SAMUEL BARBER: First Symphony in One Movement; SCHUMANN:
Symphony No. 4 in D Minor – Bavarian State Orchestra/Wolfgang
Sawallisch – Farao Classics multichannel SACD S 108 019, 53:47 ****:

These live recordings were made during the Munich Opera Festival in
2003.  Sawallisch – now director of the Philadelphia Orchestra -
was long associated with the Bavarian State Opera.  But it is
unclear, at least from the notes in English, if the Bavarian State
Orchestra is also the opera orchestra. The Barber Symphony seems
unexpected coming from these quarters but is a fine interpretation of
the modern-sounding but basically post-Romantic orchestral work, and
the only version in surround sound. Though in a single movement, it
passes thru the usual four movement structure of a fast initial
movement, a scherzo, a slow movement and a big finale.

Schumann was stimulated to compose his Fourth Symphony after hearing
performances of Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony , but he didn’t
approach the lengthiness of that work. The first five notes of the
introductory theme return to pervade the entire symphony. The
integration of this theme thru all four movements makes it almost
Schmann’s own Symphony in One Movement. The surrounds carry only hall
sound but if tweaked up a bit the immersion in the performing space is
quite convincing.

- John Sunier




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