Georg Schumann - Chorwerke (2001) - Rezension, Kritik


Gramophone Magazine

Reviewed: Gramophone 2/2001, Malcolm Riley

Motetten,Op. 52. 3 Sacred Anthems,Op. 31. 4 Songs,Op. 41. 3 Sacred Songs,Op. 51. 3 Songs of Job,Op. 60. 3 Old German Songs,Op. 63.
Stephen Farr org Purcell Singers/Mark Ford

ASV New CD     CDDCA1091 (67 minutes : DDD)
Texts and translations included


A revelatory disc of highly attractive music in exemplary performances


Born in 1866, 10 years after the death of his illustrious namesake Robert, the German composer Georg Schumann produced more than 100 works, none of which was to be found in the catalogue until the appearance of this glorious disc. He trained in Dresden and at the Leipzig Conservatory (where he studied with Reinicke). From 1890-96 he built a fine reputation as the director of the Konzertverein in Danzig before moving for four years to Bremen and thence to Berlin as director of the Singakademie, a post he held for 50 years. Among his notable successes were performances of Verdiís Requiem (1903) and Elgarís The Apostles (1906). Schumann died, aged 85, in 1952.


The choral works recorded here date from 1900 to 1916. They are mostly a cappella and frequently scored for divisi or double chorus. In the Three Songs of Job the Purcell Singers are sensitively accompanied by Stephen Farr on the organ of All Saints, Tooting. Stylistically, Schumann looks over his shoulder to Mendelssohn and Brahms and across to Reger. He dresses his diatonic idiom in luxuriant, homophonic textures. Texts are set clearly and there is a judicious use of chromaticism. I was reminded of the double-chorus motets of Schumannís exact contemporary, the Ulster composer Charles Wood (1866-1926), and also sensed parallels to Stanfordís Three Motets and Parryís Songs of Farewell.

The Purcell Singers are an exemplary group, perfectly balanced, warmly focused and totally committed to this deliciously attractive music. Congratulations to Mark Ford and everyone else involved in the making of this revelatory disc.

Malcolm Riley