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Schubert: Symphony No 9 / Mackerras, Philharmonia Orchestra

Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Signum Classics   Catalog #: 133   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a wonderful performance, full of color, energy, and stylish expression. It's instructive to compare Charles Mackerras' intelligent, comprehensive view of this work with the narcissistic antics of conductors such as Simon Rattle, who splatter the music with all sorts of interpretive graffiti, losing sight of its long, lyrical lines in the process. My only reservation concerns the first movement, where Mackerras (in common with several others) adopts a strictly proportional relationship between the introduction and allegro, with the result that the former may strike some as too quick, and the latter as too slow. But Mackerras finds so much color and inner detail once the movement gets going, and has his woodwinds play with so much Read more vitality, that he more than justifies his interpretive viewpoint (and the coda is electric).

A perfectly-chosen tempo makes the Andante go as if self-propelled, and in Mackerras' hands it rises to a harrowing climax. Even with its repeats the scherzo never sounds too long--a major accomplishment--and best of all, the finale goes like gangbusters: it's a thoroughly uninhibited romp. Through it all the Philharmonia plays like an orchestra possessed, and the live sonics, while a touch tinny in loud passages, capture the whole event very effectively before a thankfully well-behaved audience. This is certainly better in terms of orchestral response than Mackerras' earlier recording with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on Virgin, though if you have his Telarc recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (coupled with the Unfinished Symphony) you may feel perfectly satisfied as is. Still, this is really good.

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

Symphony no 9 in C major, D 944 "Great" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1825-28; Vienna, Austria 

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