Classics of the Phonograph

Schumann Not Bad Orchestrator, but Needs Tinkering!

An illustration of composer Robert Schumann

Composer Robert Schumann. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Symphonies of Robert Schumann pose a problem. Some critics maintain that Schumann was a poor orchestrator. George Szell, who was a masterful conductor of Schumann, stated that Schumann had an excellent feel for instrumental timbres, but he was unskilled in indicating volume levels for the various instrumental choirs. The solution for Szell was the tasteful adjustment of sound levels, not reorchestration. On Saturday at 11, we will sample Szell's way with Schumann.