Robert Schumann’s four symphonies are undoubtedly highlights of the symphonic repertoire and are a true challenge for any orchestra. The numbering of the symphonies produces a degree of confusion – the Symphony in D minor from 1841 was fundamentally revised by Schumann in 1851 and was then given number 4. The recording on this Album is a reconstruction of the original version and is in fact Schumann’s ‘Second’. It is remarkable to see how fast Schumann could work. He maintained a detailed and accurate administration of his activities. This means we know that as soon as he had an idea he was often able to write down a piano sketch in a few days, which was then instrumented during a very short period of time. The piano versions were often performed on piano by his wife Clara Schumann before a critical circle of friends at home. His direct involvement with the orchestral world in Leipzig, where his friend Felix Mendelssohn was in charge, and later in Dusseldorf – where he himself was Städtischer Musikdirektor – meant that once his symphonies were orchestrated they could be programmed and performed immediately. Compared with our modern days this was an incredible enterprise – nobody was familiar with this complicated music and it was played from manuscripts. The works had not been published yet and every part was copied by hand!