New CD: Robert Schumann

Symphonies 1 & 4

Spring exploding!

Tom Service, BBC

The Gürzenich Orchestra and its chief conductor François-Xavier Roth dedicate their first release on myrios classics to two symphonies by Robert Schumann. The CD is based on live recordings made at Cologne’s Philharmonie.

In 1841, Robert Schumann finally had the breakthrough he had long dreamed of as an orchestral composer. He created no less than two works that year: his first, the »Spring Symphony«, and a piece he originally conceived as a »Symphonistic Fantasy« and which later turned into his Symphony in D-minor.

The »Spring Symphony« was written in the coldest depth of winter. It is a work of longing which knows only one direction: growth, blossoming, forging a path towards light and new life. The Symphony No. 4 in D-minor, on the other hand, seems far more shadowy and personal, »a work created from the depths of the soul«, as Clara Schumann confided in her diary. The audience, however, failed to warm to the impetuous work, leading Robert Schumann to put it aside in resignation after the first performance. Only ten years later, he revised the work, which then appeared as his Fourth Symphony.

Schumann at his best!


This album combines the »Spring Symphony« with the first version of the Symphony in D-minor – a version preferred by several of Schumann’s friends, including Johannes Brahms. During Schumann’s lifetime, however, it was never performed again. It was the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne which gave its next performance in 1889, under the baton of Gürzenich kapellmeister Franz Wüllner.

François-Xavier Roth also prefers the original version of 1841. »In its sparser instrumentation, it is more radical, demanding extreme dedication from all of us.«

The SACD recording also includes a 5.0 surround version; in its breath-taking energy, it documents the Schumann focus the orchestra dedicated to the composer during the 2018/19 season. An intense impression of this energy is also conveyed by the concert video of the »Spring Symphony«, captured as part of GO Plus.

Robert Schumann
Symphony No. 1
in B-flat major, Op. 38
»Spring« (1841)

Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
(First version of 1841, edited by Jon Finson)

Natalie Chee, violin solo
Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
François-Xavier Roth conductor

Live-Recording, 2019, June 16-18. (No. 1) and 2018,  December 16.-18., Cologne Philharmonie

myrio classics
SACD + 5.0-Surround. Online at Apple Music, Qobuz, Idagio, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer and Tidal.

»Man muss die Energie spüren!« - ein Interview mit Stephan Cahen, dem Tonmeister der Schumann-Einspielung.

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