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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Herald Scotland
'And you can hear [Schumann's playfulness] all the way through Robin Ticciati's new and widely-acclaimed recording of the symphonies with the SCO.'
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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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Fono Forum
5 Stars
,,Ticciati zeigt sich als Meister des fein akzentuierten Rhythmus und der subtilen Klangwirkungen, fördert interessante Nebenstimmen zutage, die man noch nie gehört zu haben meint, und differenziert herzerfrischend auf der artikulatorischen Ebene - freilich im Rahmen dessen, was die Partitur erlaubt. Brillant gespielt sind die vier Werke hier ohnehin.''
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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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The Arts Desk
'The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's playing is magnificent, and Linn's recorded sound is impeccable.'
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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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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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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...'
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Robin Ticciati & SCO - Schumann: The Symphonies - Classical Source


03 September 2014
Classical Source
Antony Hodgson

Recently there have been several recorded sets of Robert Schumann's Symphonies for which the commentaries in the accompanying booklets have in different ways suggested that despite the popular misconception that the composer's orchestrations are questionable that it is not at all problematic when performed correctly. Even the composer's sometimes-criticised revision and re-orchestration of No.4 is now thought to be admirable. Two sets - one from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and this conducted by Robin Ticciati - employ chamber orchestras, but it must not be assumed that this nomenclature represents a reduction in size merely to clarify the scoring - and certainly ‘reduction' does not apply because the Scottish Chamber Orchestra used 32 strings and Schumann's orchestra in Leipzig used 31. .

It is interesting to compare Ticciati with Nézet-Séguin because, despite the latter consistently taking faster speeds, both conductors choose to shape the melodies with a subtle rubato without impeding the forward progress of the music. Generally Ticciati is a little freer with his phrasing and from the outset of No.1 the approach, and for that matter the acoustic, is more spacious. Firm, confident playing from the outset enhances this strong interpretation; a forward-moving slow movement precedes a powerful scherzo but arriving at the finale the more personal approach of Ticciati becomes evident. Usually the opening fanfare is followed by the cheerful main theme being launched at a speed which recognises the Allegro animato marking but Ticciati eases graciously into the melody, awakening at the first tutti (but not too suddenly). I particularly appreciate the phrasing not being identical on the repeat of the exposition. A subtle leaning on the upbeat to the main tune is rather charming and although done frequently it does not seem eccentric.

Big and bold is the approach to Symphony No.2 and the dramatic link from the long slow introduction to the Allegro non troppo typifies the conductor's understanding of Schumann's construction. It is worth recalling Nézet-Séguin's method because it shows how different interpretative views can be equally effective: a slower but equally unaffected approach to the scherzo is given by Ticciati, and similar sensitivity despite differing tempos informs both performances of the Adagio espressivo; and it is interesting that two differing renderings give a similar impression of the eager nature of Schumann's finale. Seguin drives with a hint of fierceness while Ticciati leavens his drive with touches of grandeur. Both are convincing.

The ‘Rhenish' opens majestically and, throughout, the clarity of the recording is impressive. I like the weightiness of the unhurried intermezzo-like Scherzo and there is great depth of feeling in the slow movement. The solemn use of brass in the ‘Cologne cathedral' movement is displayed realistically and the firm pizzicato accompaniment at the start gives a sense of stability. Typically, Ticciati eases gently into the finale - I am not sure that he conceals the slightly fragmentary nature of the music but the optimistic nature of Schumann's muse is well demonstrated and the coda is very exciting - superb horns here.

Power is provided in the Fourth Symphony and Schumann's oft-used marking, Lebhaft(lively) is obeyed for the fast part of the opening movement without any risk of hurry and the increase of speed at the close is taken with discretion making the lead into the calmness of the succeeding ‘Romanza' seem all the more natural, but as for the scherzo - oh dear! Lebhaft is the simple, and only, indication of how it should be played but suddenly this is forgotten when the trio is reached and here the tempo completely collapses. ‘Somnolent' would be my description, because this section - a peasant dance by nature - here trundles gloomily and hesitantly along with virtually no rhythmic pulse. This outworn tradition of playing this section in a soggy fashion has spoilt many reading. Trawling through alternative versions to hand, only Klemperer avoids such a breakdown and even he is a trace under basic speed. The finale is crisp and clear with an interesting understatement of the three grand chords with which it opens. There is an electrifying coda which pays due respect to Schumann's use of timpani.

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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Schumann: The SymphoniesSchumann: The Symphonies