A very nice new 5-star review from Zan Furtwangler (3rd cousin of the conductor) at Audiophile Audition. Read the whole thing here
A short excerpt follows:
Woods proves in this recording to be a front rank conductor, capturing the feeling of sorrow and compassion of the symphony. The work is for a chamber orchestra made up of two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, timpani and strings. Initially, this piece sounds gentle, even pastoral, but underneath is a current of turmoil and tragedy. It most sounds like R. Strauss’ Metamorphosen and other of Strauss’ late works.
Gál referred to this work as “…akin to a concerto grosso…with the brilliant display and competitive spirit of four soloists who act as both a group and as individuals… .” The soloists who participate splendidly are violinist David Le Page, cellist Christopher Allan, flutist Diane Clark and clarinetist Sally Harrop.
Woods has seized on the essence of this Schumann Symphony. His reading is smooth, grand and exciting and well worth the purchase of this disc. The Gál may take a few hearings to sink in, but the Schumann is right there from the start and one of the best recordings available.
The Orchestra of the Swan is resident in the Civic Hall of Stratford-upon-Avon. The orchestra performs throughout England and Wales. It has made several recordings of the music of Arnold Bax, Berlioz and Mahler. It is quite a versatile group, easily shifting between Gál and Schumann.
The Avie sound is exact and spacious. Program notes are in English, German and French. The bios of the performers are in English only. Highly recommended!