Related Reviews
The Times
4 Stars
Prom 40: 'Ticciati is about to start his ninth and final season with the SCO and the rapport is evident in the freedom, a cultivated kind of spontaneity, that he achieves with the group.'
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The Independent
4 Stars
Prom 40: '...glinting gold with sunlit horns, now a bubbling rush of strings.'
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Seen and Heard
Prom 40: '...this was bracing Schumann, and a real tonic at that.'
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Financial Times
Prom 40: 'Everything about the symphony was pleasingly gemütlich.'
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Bay Area Reporter
2015's best in classical recordings: 'Simply the best I've heard.'
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Fanfare
'This is one of the best Schumann symphony cycles to come my way in a very long time, maybe even ever...'
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BBC Music Magazine
'Building A Library' Recommended Recording of Schumann's Symphony No. 2
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Classica
«On apprécie d'autant plus Ia finesse et Ia musicalité de certains pupitres (clarinette, hautbois) qui donnent véritablement un supplément d'âme à leur lecture et n'enferment pas Ia musique dans des éclairages monochromes ou bien, à l'inverse, dans une démonstration purement virtuose.»
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Sir Simon Rattle in Gramophone
'Robin makes a clear case for how the revised version can retain the radical edge of the 1841 version. Still it sounds like a fireball and I take my hat off to him.'
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BBC Music Magazine
Top Recommendation: 'I'd opt for Ticciati, whose exhilarating Rhenish has all the makings of a modern classic.'
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Herald Scotland
Pick of 2014: '...Robin Ticciati and the SCO released an astoundingly good Schumann symphony cycle...'
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De Volkskrant
#23 in da Volksrant's 'Best Albums of 2014' of all genres
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Inside Story
'No new release has given me greater pleasure in 2014 than conductor Robin Ticciati's survey of the four symphonies of Schumann with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.'
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Audiophile Audition
'Linn has given their all to Ticciati, and it sounds splendid.'
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The Sunday Times
#9 ‘Classical Record of the Year’: ‘In a competitive year, Ticciati’s lithe, youthful accounts of the great works produced the trump card.’
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Fanfare
'...one of the best-sounding Schumann cycles in years. No detail of these meticulously prepared, superbly executed performances escapes the attention of the Linn engineers...'
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Early Music Review
'The SCO - for decades now pioneers in modern instrument HIP - are big enough to create the presence required for such music, but also with an eye on the subtleties of the composer's orchestration.'
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review Building a Library'
'Robin Ticciati with the finely responsive Scottish Chamber Orchestra has more romantic instincts.'
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The Arts Desk
'The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's playing is magnificent, and Linn's recorded sound is impeccable.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
'Orchestral Choice': 'The Adagio of Symphony No. 2 is beautifully done, with a coda that really tugs at the heartstrings...the interpretations...will reward repeated hearing.'
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Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'Altogether an attractive, classily played collection.'
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Big Issue
'Ticciati finds wondrous detail in every bar of these scores, but the dynamism and spark that he and this orchestra create makes sure they never lose track of the overall picture. The SCO's playing is stylish, generous and brimming with life.'
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Classical CD Choice
'…these superb accounts from Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra certainly place them amongst the finest available thanks both to Ticciati’s vital conducting and the brilliantly immediate recorded sound. Altogether an impressive release.'
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The Sunday Times
Classical CD of the Week: 'Ticciati adopts near-ideal tempi, refusing to drag in the slow movements...and he is propulsive in Schumann's energetic, animated allegros.'
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Irish Times
4 Stars
'The sense of newness, of discovery, is at all times high.'
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Pizzicato
4 Stars
'...everything seems to be about motion in these particularly fine Schumann performances...'
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New York Times
'eminently respectable'
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International Record Review
'…the playing on these discs is a constant delight… Of very recent Schumann sets, Ticciati’s is the one I enjoyed the most…'
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MusicWeb International
'Recording of the Month': 'This new set from Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra elbows those two aside and takes its place towards the very top of the list of recommendations for these works, in this year or in any other.'
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Herald Scotland
'…Robin Ticciati's new recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra of Schumann's four symphonies hits the mark… The lightness and buoyancy that are so much a feature of these masterpieces can be heard right across the stunning, super-articulate SCO performances…'
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McAlister Matheson Music
'These are balanced, organic performances of great beauty. Unmissable!'
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The Scotsman
4 Stars
'a compelling set'
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The Times
4 Stars
'...performances that make you experience the symphonies' wonders afresh.'
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InfoDad.com
'Here [No. 4], though, Ticciati benefits enormously from the smaller size of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, managing to convey an impression of transparency along with solidity - and pacing the music with more care and attentiveness...The result is a very fine reading...'
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Classical Ear
'...Ticciati's expertly played excursions away from the norm [are] refreshing.'
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The Guardian
5 Stars
'...perhaps the most impressive thing that Ticciati has done on disc so far...hearing these symphonies in such superbly played, convincingly Schumannesque performances is irresistible.'
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
'In short, these superb accounts from Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra certainly place them amongst the finest available thanks both to Ticciati's vital conducting and the brilliantly immediate recorded sound. Altogether an impressive release.'
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Classical Source
'Robin Ticciati joins the distinguished list of today's conductors treating Schumann's Symphonies with the respect they deserve. At times he includes a few personal notions but each of them throws light on the passage in question.'
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Gramophone
'This is an extremely likeable and beautifully recorded traversal, worthy of standing alongside any of its recent competitors.'
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MusicWeb International
'Ticciati gives ajoyous an account of the Spring symphony...The finale on Linn, aided by some hearty thwacks with wooden drum-sticks, brings the house down.'
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Herald Scotland
'...revelatory survey of Schumann's four symphonies...'
more >>

Robin Ticciati & SCO - Schumann: The Symphonies - Herald Scotland


27 December 2014
Herald Scotland
Michael Tumelty

Every year without fail, and at this point of the year too, I'm asked the same questions.

What's the best thing you've heard this year? Which have been the best concerts? Who's improved? Who's gone off? Who's been most on form? What has been your most memorable event? How do you think such and such an orchestra's relationship with such and such a music director or chief conductor is developing? What trends do you see on the musical landscape? And so on, ad infinitum, as the year begins to draw to a close.

When you think of it, in a way it's the wrong time to be asking these questions. All the orchestras are bang in the middle of their winter seasons; in fact they're not even at the mid-point of concert seasons that began in early October and seem to be extending each year, way past Easter and very close to the start of the Perth Festival of the Arts, which is usually mid to late May.

In other words there's lots more Runnicles, Oundjian and Ticciati yet to come with their respective orchestras before we can have a big perspective on how they've all fared in the current concert season. None the less, I suppose there is a feeling to the ending of one year and the approach of another which suggests, though not as an imperative, some kind of reflection. And that came to mind again a week past Friday in the City Hall, where Christian Tetzlaff joined the SCO, in its last Glasgow concert of the year, for a rare and revealing performance of Schumann's Violin Concerto.

Now here's a trend if ever I saw one. Let's call it the rehabilitation of the orchestral music of Robert Schumann. Those of us of a certain generation grew up with a common prejudice about Schumann, whether we believed it or not: that he wasn't a very good orchestrator; that his orchestration was too thick.

In the revised version of his Second Symphony, which Schumann wrote in 1851, he did in fact make the symphony weightier, which only added fuel to the flames for critics of his orchestral technique. Even his great friend and supporter, Brahms, cast a dubious eye over this piece of work, writing much later, after Schumann's death, to Clara Schumann, saying: "I find it enchanting how the lovely work immediately appeared in charming, appropriate garb. Why did Schumann later drape it so heavily? His bad Dusseldorf orchestra may have duped him into doing that."

And when I was a kid, that's the way we tended to hear it. Direct comparisons with Brahms were drawn; Schumann lost every time. But that's a faulty comparison. There is a very different centre of gravity to Schumann's symphonic music. Its impulse is more poetic than the heavyweight, intellectual rigour of Brahms's symphonic music.

I'll not even mention the genius of cyclical integration that so characterises Schumann's symphonic music: just stick to the weight for now. Generations of musicologists and conductors now realise this and are activists in lightening the music, bringing out a wholly different impulse and balance in the music.

I recall Sir Roger Norrington, in a past interview, reiterating this thesis: that there is a sense of "playfulness" in Schumann's music that, along with the poetic core at the heart of the stuff, sets Schumann apart from Brahms and closer, if you wish to entertain such comparisons, to the ethos of Mendelssohn; but then let one go, too. My own feeling, which I've been banging on about for years, is that Schumann, in fact, doesn't fit into that neat line of succession, other than by a loose chronology. He is, in fact, unique: a man apart. And that is the mission which creates and informs this trend.

Norrington does it with a vengeance. And you can hear it all the way through Robin Ticciati's new and widely-acclaimed recording of the symphonies with the SCO.

There's another very significant and ongoing trend that has characterised this year for me, so we'll launch 2015's columns with that one next Saturday. A guid musical New Year to all.


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Schumann: The SymphoniesSchumann: The Symphonies