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Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
Immediately after completing his First Symphony, Schumann wrote this work
as a birthday present for his wife Clara. Although it only met with a
lukewarm reception when it was first performed in Leipzig in 1841, Schumann
was convinced of its merit. However, he abandoned any notion of having it
performed again, or of publishing it. The Symphony in D minor thus
disappeared into a drawer for the next ten years. Schumann revised the work
in December 1851, paying special attention to the instrumentation. The
symphony was then published as No. 4, which explains its misleadingly high
opus number 120. Today, it is Schumann's most frequently performed
In the early 1960s, Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) became fascinated by
the movie director Henri-Georges Clouzot, who had directed "Quai des
orfèvres" and "Mystère Picasso." He suggested that Clouzot work with him on
a "visual interpretation" of musical masterworks. Their fruitful
collaboration included Schumann's Fourth Symphony (1965), Beethoven's
Symphony No. 5 (1966), Mozart's Fifth Concerto (1966), Dvorak's Ninth
Symphony (1966) and Verdi's Requiem (1967). The chemistry between the two
men was unparalleled: the score becomes a script, the musical phrases are
translated into cuts where the musicians are treated as "actors" of music.
The director creates an extraordinarily captivating climate, reproducing in
images all the nuances and strength of the work. Tracked by Clouzot's
camera, Karajan's concentration is equally fascinating. Never had a
conductor been filmed with as much strength and passion.
||Schumann, Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
||Herbert von Karajan