, January 2017
A sigh of relief! Some nice big Schumann for a change—and beautifully played at that. Antonio Pappano’s Santa Cecilia Orchestra is a finely honed instrument these days, more international-sounding by far than Italian orchestras used to be. It’s reached the stage of excellence where it can easily lose itself in the nationality of any music “without accent”… But when it wants to, the orchestra still knows how to put on that accent! The slow movement of the Schumann Second, impassioned here, is played like an aria, the accompaniment moving ever so subtly underneath in bel canto syncopated footsteps. It’s a lovely effect.
These are warm, flowing readings, string dominated, no quirks, modestly normal in tempo and slightly less brassy and aggressive than Schumann frequently is. They reveal none of the ankle-biting small-dog snarls common in today’s early music orchestras. A large complement is onstage to supply lots of rounded corners. And Pappano shines at going around those corners—indeed, he seems to have a sort of built-in Bruno Walterish sense of phrasing. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review