Schumann: Overtures – Manfred, Op 115; Scenes from Goethe's Faust; Hermann und Dorothea, Op 136; Genoveva, Op 81; The Bride of Messina, Op 100; Julius Caesar, Op 128; Symphony in G minor (Zwickauer)

Reviewed on Fri 08 Jul, 2016

Heinz Holliger and his willing Cologne colleagues prove wonderfully idiomatic and consistently refreshing interpreters: tempi are uniformly well judged, textures judiciously sifted and tuttis glow to the manner born.

A superbly trenchant account of Schumann's masterly Manfred Overture launches this sixth and final volume in Audite's complete survey of his orchestral works. Not only does Heinz Holliger secure some enviably alert, stylish and outstandingly committed results from the excellent WDR orchestra, he extracts every ounce of sinew and pathos from Schumann's gripping inspiration, and lends no less persuasive advocacy to the two completed – and immensely likeable – movements that survive from the 21-year-old composer's earliest attempt at a symphony. Of the five overtures that make up the remainder Holliger and his willing Cologne colleagues prove wonderfully idiomatic and consistently refreshing interpreters: tempi are uniformly well judged, textures judiciously sifted and tuttis glow to the manner born. (Incidentally, listen out for the deft incorporation of 'La Marseillaise' into Hermann und Dorothea.) Boasting strikingly ripe and truthful sound, this splendid anthology earns an enthusiastic recommendation.
–Andrew Achenbach