Exuberance and Enchantment from Schumann

A real treat for the ears.

Composer: Schumann Repertoire: Symphonies Nos. 1, ‘Spring’ & 3, ‘Rhenish’
Artists: Orchestre des Champs-Élysées/ Philippe Herreweghe
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMC 901972

The ‘Rhenish’ Symphony No.3 (1850) is ingeniously laid out in five movements, the first four of which mark a gradual slowing of tempo until the last movement bursts forth as an overwhelming wave of exuberance. Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe clearly has his finger on the pulse here, reserving all his energy for the Finale, which is kept delightfully on its toes. That said, it’s a reading that, when set beside Roger Norrington’s high-adrenaline account on Virgin/EMI (with thrilling horns), does seem to hide its light under a bushel. The ‘Spring’ Symphony No.1 (1841) suits Herreweghe’s lithe and gentle style rather better – this is sheer enchantment.