Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:
Symphonies: No. 1; No. 3; No. 8, “Unfinished” • Jonathan Nott, cond; Bamberg SO • TUDOR 7141 (79:23)
SCHUBERT Symphonies:No. 2; No. 4 • Jonathan Nott, cond; Bamberg SO • TUDOR 7142 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 68:04)
Read moreThese are performances worthy to stand alongside some of the best Schubert symphony recordings in the catalogs. The Bamberg Symphony has already shown itself, in recordings made in recent years with such conductors as José Serebrier and Oleg Caetani, to be a much-improved ensemble. It is working here with its principal conductor since 2000.
The English-born Jonathan Nott is a conductor I have not previously encountered, but he is clearly a conductor and musician to be reckoned with, and to my ears he gets very nearly everything in these five works triumphantly right. Tempos are mostly well chosen, a shade on the old-fashioned leisurely side in the slow movements, perhaps, but never damagingly so—his timing of 4:31 for the Allegretto of the Third Symphony may look outlandish by comparison with Carlos Kleiber’s 2:38, but Kleiber’s reading is sui generis, if convincing on its own terms, and no one else comes anywhere near his fleetness in this delicious movement.
Though Nott tends, in many of the quicker movements, to stress drama and brilliance, there is plenty of charm too when it is appropriate, notably in the seductive treatment of third-movement trios. His orchestra, moreover, is fully up to the challenge posed by some of the faster tempos he sets, and betrays no weakness in any of its constituent sections, the woodwinds in particular producing many lovely solos. Nott is fairly generous with repeats, though he omits the exposition repeat in the first movement of Symphony No. 1, and does not choose to observe those in the minuet da capo's.
I do not usually think of symphonies coupled on a disc as necessarily to be heard one after the other. In this case, however, I listened to the Third Symphony and the “Unfinished” in quick succession, and the result was illuminating: after the easy youthful conviviality of No. 3, the opening of the “Unfinished” took on a lonelier character than ever. This performance is quite remarkably successful, underlining the desolation of the music Schubert was writing so few years later, and Nott also distinguishes well between the tempos—and more importantly the pulses—of the two movements, which in some conductors’ hands sound too much the same. He also gives us a bonus in the shape of the few measures of the Scherzo that have come down to us. In this symphony, and indeed throughout, he is meticulous in realizing Schubert’s range of accentuation. The third movement of No. 3, for example, vividly captures not just the effervescence of the frequent fz markings, but also differentiates them nicely from fp.
One of these two discs, co-produced with the Bavarian Radio, was submitted for review in SACD format, the other as a standard CD. As you would expect, the SACD multichannel format yields a greater sense of space and comfort in the sound, but both are very well engineered, with splendidly clear textures and ample warmth of tone, and with very effectively focused (and well played) timpani. Tudor calls the “Unfinished” No. 7, rather than the familiar No. 8. I retain the latter in the headnote, since readers are more likely to recognize it, and the renumbering that is being attempted in some quarters seems to me unnecessary. The case is quite different from that of Dvorák, because in Schubert’s case there are several unfinished and/or lost symphonies outside the canonic nine, and indeed a specific other claimant to the number seven. In other respects, the presentation is fine, and unusually searching notes by Alfred Beaujean complete a pair of releases that will not disappoint any lover of Schubert. I hope the Fifth Symphony and the “Great” C-Major will follow in due course.
FANFARE: Bernard Jacobson
Symphonies 5 & 6
"The Fifth Symphony was performed within a year of its composition by an amateur orchestra with Schubert in the violas. It is a personal favourite of mine and Beecham’s recording of it is the most effective anti-depressant I know. Yet there are other ways to play it and Nott is perhaps more effective at making the case for this being "great" music. No slow introduction to the first movement here but straight into the joyous exposition of a movement in which Schubert’s natural lyricism was allowed free rein. The slow movement too unfolds naturally and flows beautifully. The minuet hits G minor for a brief touch of the darker side – this was surely chipped off the block of Mozart’s 40th. I have already mentioned the finale above; here the Bambergers use the slow tempo to make the phrasing really count.
The Sixth Symphony (or Little C major) reverts to including a slow introduction. As Alfred Beaujean suggests in the booklet, Rossini was a bigger influence than Mozart in this work but despite Vienna "being in the grip of Rossini fever" at the time there is no record of a public performance until just after Schubert’s death. For the first time Schubert designated the third movement "scherzo" and this is arguably the most impressive movement. In Nott’s hands the influence of Beethoven is very clear. The finale is marked Allegro moderato and that tempo is captured perfectly."
-- Patrick C Waller, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 1 in D major, D 82by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1813; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 25 Minutes 37 Secs.
Symphony no 3 in D major, D 200by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 23 Minutes 54 Secs.
Symphony no 2 in B flat major, D 125by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1814-1824; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 34 Minutes 9 Secs.
Symphony no 4 in C minor, D 417 "Tragic"by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 33 Minutes 9 Secs.
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, D 485by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 30 Minutes 37 Secs.
Symphony no 9 in C major, D 944 "Great"by Franz Schubert Conductor:
Period: Romantic Written: ?1825-28; Vienna, Austria Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 61 Minutes 6 Secs.
Lied for Orchestraby Jörg Widmann Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 29 Minutes 49 Secs.
Mit Ausdruckby Bruno Mantovani Performer:
Alain Billard ()
Period: 20th Century Written: 2003 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 15 Minutes 7 Secs.
Schubert-Phantasieby Dieter Schnebel Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 15 Minutes 46 Secs.
Metamorphosen on a Minuet of Franz Schubertby Aribert Reimann Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1997 Date of Recording: 03/19/2003 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 8 Minutes 6 Secs.
Schubert-Chöreby Hans Zender Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1986 Date of Recording: 01/02/2003 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 17 Minutes 5 Secs.
Epilog zu Rosamunde, Op. 33by Kurt Schwertsik Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: Austria Date of Recording: 01/03/2003 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 11 Minutes 19 Secs.
Renderingby Luciano Berio Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1989 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 33 Minutes 35 Secs.
Erscheinung, for 9 strings & pianoby Wolfgang Rihm Performer:
Peter Selwyn (Piano)
Period: Contemporary Written: 1978 Date of Recording: 05/28/2004 Venue: Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-S Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
ExcellentApril 5, 2012By Richard H. (Glendale, AZ)See All My Reviews"How do you write a review of so many works in one package? I found all of the performances here quite satisfying. Some I would call (Unfinished) fabulous, and some I would call (#3) pretty good. The Epilog is interesting but left me wondering why. The entire set averages a 4. The set isn't cheap so I would recommend it for only the most ardent Schubert fans."Report Abuse
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