9. Which 4th Symphony?

The first version of the Fourth Symphony dates from 1841, a year after his marriage to Clara and the year in which the First Symphony was also composed. Unlike that work, which was very well received, the new symphony had a poor reception, prompting Schumann to withdraw the it.

Ten years later he dusted off the score, did some, fairly significant, reorchestration, made some minor excisions and additions and rechristened the work his Fourth Symphony.

The story, however, doesn’t stop there. Brahms, who preferred the earlier 1841 version, publicised his preference by producing an edition of that score; and Mahler, who – in the company of many – found Schumann’s orchestral writing not to his taste (too thick!) rejigged the orchestration of all four symphonies for his performances.

Robert Schumann:
Symphony 4 in d, Op. 120
(1851 version)

Ziemlich langsam – Lebhaft 00:45
Romanze. Ziemlich langsam 11:09
Scherzo. Lebhaft 14:37
Langsam – Lebhaft – Presto 19:18


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