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Schubert: Symphonies 8 & 9 / Munch, Boston So

Release Date: 01/23/2007 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 704603   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Charles Munch's Schubert Ninth is my personal favorite performance. It is unbelievably exciting, with the orchestra playing as if its collective life depended on it. No other version of the scherzo even comes close to this one for sheer rhythmic energy, and while the finale may not be the subtlest interpretation on disc, it's probably the most physical. Only at the end of the first movement (nearly always rescored in some fashion) does Munch let the brass go crazy in a way that some listeners may find over the top--but then the basic problem here is of Schubert's own making, and if this is vulgar,
Read more then it's healthy vulgarity. The "Unfinished" is scarcely less fine. Of course, it's a more elegiac piece to begin with, but Munch shows that darkness needn't preclude drama, and the orchestral winds positively glow in the Andante (as they also would a couple of decades later under Jochum). SACD remastering (in two and three tracks) has polished up the already very good sound so that it sounds particularly fresh. This is one of the true "desert island" classics.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/02/1955 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Boston, MA 
Length: 24 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Symphony no 9 in C major, D 944 "Great" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Charles Munch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1825-28; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 44 Minutes 45 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Exuberant Schubert from Munch & the Bostonians December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Many years ago, before the era of the Compact Disc, I uncovered a monaural LP of Schubert's "Great" C major Symphony in my grandmother's basement, featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch. Playing it, I was immediately captivated by the vibrant and exuberant performance of a work I was only beginning to know.

Little did I know back then that the recording had actually been part of RCA's legendary Living Stereo series, and would be reissued many years later in superb three channel sound.

Munch's conception of the C major Symphony is similar to Toscanini's 1953 recording: the first movement is played with little tempo fluctuation; the second movement is an Andante rather than a quasi-Adagio; the final movements are rollicking. In addition, repeats are not observed. But numerous details are different, including forward winds and brass, and less prominent strings. Munch gets a mellow tone from his orchestra, until he lets the brass blast forth at climaxes. In short, this is the polar opposite of the Gemutlikeit style favored in many performances.

The "Unfinished" is given a more relaxed, darker performance. When the major theme appears in the first movement, it's an optimistic interlude rather than the focus. The tranquil second movement features especially fine woodwind playing. This symphony is recorded in 2-channel stereo.

Sony/BMG's reissue features the original cover art and liner notes. The refurbished sonics are nearly, but not quite, at the level of the latest digital recordings. Highly recommended. "
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