The textures are appropriately bass heavy, and the two cellos dominate, but every line comes through with exceptional clarity. This gives the piece a new profile, with the complex but now clear counterpoint driving the music and leading the ear through the harmonic web. There is atmosphere here too, and much warmth in the ensemble’s sound, but that is never at the expense of the individual lines..
Category Archives: News and Reviews
“…bringing to Schumann’s comparably sparkling and life-enhancing ‘Spring’ Symphony such boundless vitality, scrupulous fidelity to the printed score, delicious wit and (above all) entrancing freshness of new discovery. This stylish and consistently invigorating coupling represents both an exemplary rescue act and genuine tonic to boot. Investigate without delay!”
“anyone… who generally welcomes song, dance, deepness of human feeling and clarity in their music will find much to entrance and enlighten here. It is certainly good to have a choice of recordings for Gál 2, to compare and contrast, but Woods’s version is the place to start…this thoughtfully considered account belongs in the Schumann 4 collection alongside Boult, Celibidache, Sawallisch (Dresden) and Szell”
The final result may be the most compelling reawakening of Schumann in the last decades – and simultaneously a long-overdue vindication of Hans Gál.
“This account is a joy from start to exuberant finish, perfectly paced and superbly played…Very strongly recommended”
“Kenneth Woods and the Orchestra of the Swan versus Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Woods wins it. One needs express no surprise when the committed outfit with its own conductor beats the prestige youngsters under the rising star jet-setter. The Woods performance is tighter, rhythmically crisper, richer in contrasts, more characterful and always closer to the composer’s wishes.”
“Throughout, the excellent Ensemble Epomeo three instruments merged into a rare kind of musical experience. Spacious and uncannily unified, it was wholly successful in towing the audience along…”
“it is indeed a miracle we have Viktor Ullmann’s Third String Quartet (presented here as a Chamber Symphony as arranged by Kenneth Woods) which manages a whole range of emotional responses.”
Woods, a Scotia Festival alumnus, has a big career in full stride, both as conductor and as cellist with his Epomeo Ensemble. His waggish sense of humour can be sampled at his blog
Somehow I have missed hearing this powerful work during long years of listening to classical music. Hearing it for the first time under the direction of so honest and intuitive a musician as Kenneth Woods was a shattering experience, leaving me speechless with awe and wonder.
A new review from critic Dan Morgan at MusicWeb. Read the whole thing here. A short sample follows The Second Symphony opens with a most unsettling string theme that blossoms into a mellifluous, pulsing tune whose mood and manner might well suggest pared-down Bruckner. Structurally it’s more tightly drawn – no dancing mountains here – […]
It was gratifying to be given a chance to experience this challenging work in a reading of such heroic panache and fierce dedication: soloist, players and conductor valiantly negotiated the score’s fiendish polyrhythms and labyrinthine tempo associations, whilst building a convincing case for it to be regarded as one of Saxton’s finest utterances…this event was memorable for the quality of its performances and the boldness of its scheduling in equal measure
“The Orchestra of the Swan, a British chamber orchestra, plays with expressive understatement. The warm recording, at a concert, has all the qualities of a studio production. East-West fusions seem immune to the struggles of the classical music scene. This engaging album shows why.” American Record Guide