Schumann-Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Alsop, ORF Vienna RSO

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Also available: Schumann-Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1 "Spring" & 2 / Alsop, ORF Vienna RSO

Robert Schumann’s Fourth Symphony was initially conceived not long after the success of the First, but the dramatic original single-movement version confused audiences, and substantial revisions resulted in the eloquent masterpiece we hear today. This and the Third Symphony owe a great deal to Beethoven, with the ‘Rhenish’ sharing much of the joy and effervescence of the ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. Gustav Mahler’s subtle re-orchestrations were made in the light of instrumental innovations and the increase in size of the symphony orchestra towards the beginning of the 20th century, making them ideal for performance today.

Learn more about this release and the previous volume on the Naxos podcast!


The Mahler versions are infrequently recorded, and it was not a surprise to see this release land on classical best-seller lists in early 2023. Far from trying to turn Schumann into Mahler, these versions actually thin out the texture; Mahler cut out some of the brass lines to make the music more transparent in the hands of a 100-player orchestra. This is ideally suited to Alsop’s approach to these works, which is light and clear. The biggest differences are in the Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120, where Mahler eliminated repeats and restored other features of Schumann’s original version of the work, which was also championed by Brahms but vehemently rejected by Clara Schumann; it is interesting to hear this hybrid version. Well executed in every way, this is an essential release for Schumann buffs.

-- (James Manheim)

Product Description:

  • Release Date: January 27, 2023

  • Catalog Number: 8574430

  • UPC: 747313443079

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Robert Schumann

  • Conductor: Marin Alsop

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra


  1. Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 97, "Rhenish"

    Composer: Robert Schumann

    Ensemble: ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Marin Alsop

  2. Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120

    Composer: Robert Schumann

    Ensemble: ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Marin Alsop