Tender intimacy, intense lyricism, extreme drama and unrelenting energy are just some of the characteristics widely used to describe Schubert’s symphonies as Frans Bruggen and his superb Orchestra of the 18th Century show in these deeply understanding, highly rated live recordings. “They look beyond the printed page...and gift all listeners with illuminating interpretations” -- Gramophone
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There have been many great recordings of Schubert's Eighth and Ninth symphonies -- one thinks immediately of the awe-inspiring Furtwängler, the heartwarming Walter, and the hard-driving Toscanini -- and there have been some great recordings of Schubert's six earlier symphonies -- one thinks immediately of theRead more glorious Böhm, the luminous Kleiber, and the fabulous Abbado -- but while this set of all eight symphonies -- Schubert never did more than sketch a seventh -- with Frans Brüggen conducting the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century may not match the greatest recordings of the greatest works, it often comes very, very close. Brüggen may have first made his mark as an incredibly talented recorder player, but by the time he made these recordings in the early '90s, he had long since proved himself as a highly skillful conductor, and he is never less than completely in control of the music. Better yet, Brüggen was always a deeply understanding interpreter and his performances here have all the requisite Schubertian qualities of tender intimacy, intense lyricism, extreme drama, and unrelenting energy. But even better, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century is more than merely the superb early instrument ensemble Brüggen is directing; it is the superb ensemble of superlative individuals that has as much to say about the music as the conductor. Either as soloists or as a unit, the Orchestra's phrasing, molding, and shaping are cogent, creative, and compelling -- and entirely its own. While there will always be room on the shelf for Furtwängler, Walter, and Toscanini, not to mention Böhm, Kleiber, and Abbado, this set will be mandatory listening for anyone who loves Schubert's symphonies, especially in Philips' crisp and colorful sound.
Schubert / The Symphonies / BruggenFebruary 11, 2016By T. Fellowes (Fennville, MI)See All My Reviews"Generally, first rate. Very lively and sensitive rendering. My only qualm is with the minuet sections of symphonies 2 and 3. A slower, more stately pace would have been more agreeable to me, like Hayden and Mozart minuets. This would have provided a welcome contrast with the two fast movements. As it is, we have three fast movements. However, the composer himself has marked these minuets allegro and allegro vivace. So Bruggen's fast pace on that account has justification."Report Abuse
Remarkably Expressive SchubertMay 19, 2015By David Horne (Cincinnati, OH)See All My Reviews"Frans Brüggen's Schubert, especially his Schubert 5th Symphony, is remarkably expressive. Each phrase of the Fifth Symphony is meticulously shaped. His Eighth Symphony is extremely robust. Brüggen is a consummate Schubert interpreter. Highly recommended."Report Abuse