Schubert symphonies advice

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stevewright
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Schubert symphonies advice

Post by stevewright » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:19 pm

Hello,
I'd love some advice on a good Schubert symphonies cycle.
So far I have 8 and 9 (St Petersburg - don't know if it's supposed to be any good, but I like it) and 5 (Bohm, VPO).
I'd like both to hear other versions of these, as I have grown to love them, and to hear the rest of his symphonies.

So... what would you suggest?
I'd be interested to try out HIP Schubert, or stay traditional. I'm also after something affordable, which these sets mostly seem to be.
My shortlist so far is Blomstedt, Marriner (which has all 10...?), Karajan; Harnoncourt , Bruggen, Goodman/Hanover (the latter is VERY cheap).
Plus Bohm, I guess, as I like his 5th.

Any thoughts?
Thanks!
Steve
Last edited by stevewright on Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Sch

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:42 pm

fine orchestra
excellent conductor
good record label
under twelve dollars + $3.99 shipping from third-party seller.

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complete ... omplete%29

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stevewright
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Re: Sch

Post by stevewright » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:39 pm

jserraglio wrote:fine orchestra
excellent conductor
good record label
under twelve dollars + $3.99 shipping from third-party seller.

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complete ... omplete%29

Image
Thank you! That does look an excellent bet (I like the cover art too, which doesn't count for nought with me). Better than Harnoncourt, or simply different?

jserraglio
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Re: Sch

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:08 pm

All of Blomstedt's SKDO Schubert is on YT should you wish to audition them.

https://m.youtube.com/results?q=blomste ... ubert&sm=3

barney
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by barney » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:51 pm

I have four complete sets: Bruggen you have already mentioned; Kertesz with the VPO, Abbado with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Yehudi Menuhin with the Menuhin Festival Orchestra. I recommend any of the first three; the fourth I don't think I have listened to. It came in one of those big boxes, a 50-CD EMI collector's box of Schubert, into which I have only dipped.

John F
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by John F » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:58 pm

My favorite Schubert recordings aren't historically informed, they're historical, period.

Symphony #3: Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eduard van Beinum conducting

Symphony #5: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham conducting

Symphony #8: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting

Symphony #9: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting

(These are the published studio recordings, not the many live concert recordings.)
John Francis

barney
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by barney » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:20 pm

That's cheating: the question was complete sets. Going symphony by symphony is a different question. I have about 100 accounts of the symphonies, and many who post here would have far, far more.
Nothing wrong with broadening the conversation, of course.
As an aside, Schubert's fifth was my first love in classical music. I remember staying with my grandmother one holiday and asking her to play it over and over. I was five or six. I didn't realise, of course, that it was "classical" music; I merely knew I loved it.

josé echenique
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by josé echenique » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:07 pm

So many fine cycles: Abbado/COE if you prefer a mid-size "chamber" orchestra, some 50 strong in the Ninth, youthful, adorable performances. Blomstedt/Staatskapelle Dresden, probably the finest with modern size symphony orchestra. Frans Brüggen/Orchestra of the XVIII Century, exquisite performances of the first 6 symphonies in period instruments, but unfortunately the 9th didn´t work out.

The more recent Minkowski/Musiciens du Louvre is very fine, but expensive.

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maestrob
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:42 pm

Hi, Steve:

Agree w/the sentiments above. Abbado or Bruggen. The Goodman set is cheap for a reason: the orchestra is unrefined even though they make some interesting sounds, and the recorded sound is very distant. I have the set, but Bruggen is what I'm listening to nowadays. If you want a traditional (i.e. modern) orchestra, the Bohm/Berlin set is beautiful, with a just-right ninth.

Lance
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by Lance » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:11 am

I have six complete Schubert symphony sets on hand:

1] Wolfgang Sawallisch/Dresden Staatskapelle/Decca/Korea
2] Istvan Kertesz/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Decca
3] Claudio Abbado/Chamber Orchestra-Europe/DGG
4] Yehudi Menuhin/Menuhin Festival Orchestra/EMI
5] Herbert von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic/EMI
6] Herbert Blomstedt/Dresden Staatskapelle/Brilliant Classics

I recently acquired the Sawallisch on Korean Decca and am very pleasantly surprised. Wonderful sound, consistent interpretations throughout - no funny business - sheer great music-making from a great orchestra from a conductor who never really got his full due.

If I had to choose just one out of the above six, it would most likely be Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on DGG. The man was one of the geniuses of the late 20th/early 20th centuries.

The only other version that would interest me of the many that are out there and still being made available is the four-CD set with Karl Böhm conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. And still another one might be the EMI/Warner edition with the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti. I'm holding off on acquiring any more complete sets at least for a while. I don't believe any great conductor can go wrong with Schubert and either the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. For a long time, too, the Istvan Kertesz/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Decca was my most favourite, but that would be in third place.

It should be said, however, that the many individual recordings I have of each symphony would top any of those listed in most cases. The issue here—for you—is complete sets.
Lance G. Hill
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John F
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by John F » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:41 am

barney wrote:That's cheating: the question was complete sets. Going symphony by symphony is a different question.
It's the only question I'm qualified to answer, as I don't do complete sets and prefer interpretations and recordings to be individually and deeply considered rather than mass-produced for the convenience of the record company. I don't know of any set that contains world-beating performances of all nine symphonies.

Speaking of which, do any sets other than Neville Marriner's include all nine, with a completion of #7 in E minor? The big first movement, which Schubert finished but didn't completely orchestrate, is on a very large scale and anticipates some of the rhythms and musical gestures of the Great C Major. Here it is, for those who don't know it:



stevewright says he'd love to hear other versions of the symphonies he knows, and I'm happy to oblige with a few great recordings for a lifetime.
John Francis

stevewright
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by stevewright » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:42 am

Wow, thanks everyone, this is incredibly helpful.
And yes, good to hear about individual recordings too. I suppose I was only focused on sets as (and I am sure I am not alone here) I always quite like the idea of a complete set. Plus there seem to be a few very good ones, at very good price, when it comes to Schubert. But some individual ones look great, too (I also have my eye on the mini 'set' of Beecham 3,5 and 6, which sounds lovely).
Anyway. I suppose I have probably narrowed it down (for now) to Abbado and Blomstedt, and poss Bruggen. I like the sound of Abbado's smaller orchestra and more vigorous sound. Perhaps I'll get (over time) all three!

barney
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by barney » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:54 am

John is right, though, that few sets are evenly great, and it is better to go symphony by symphony. Of course you would get far more arguments then about each individual symphony.
I have 18 different interpretations of the Great C major (Lance probably has 75), and don't know which I would put top. But I am particularly fond of Josef Krips (London Symphony Orchestra), possibly partly because it was one of my earlier arrivals and played far more often than some of the others (eg Menuhin).

John F
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by John F » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:26 am

The Krips/LSO 9th is indeed an outstanding recording, my choice for people who find Furtwängler's interpretative ideas too personal. It's too bad Krips didn't record more Schubert.

Another LSO recording of the 9th that I favor was conducted by Bruno Walter in the '30s, after he had to leave Austria because of the Anschluss. This is the set my parents had, and its tempos and nuances are still in my head many decades later.

John Francis

Seán
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by Seán » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:58 am

stevewright wrote:Wow, thanks everyone, this is incredibly helpful.
And yes, good to hear about individual recordings too. I suppose I was only focused on sets as (and I am sure I am not alone here) I always quite like the idea of a complete set. Plus there seem to be a few very good ones, at very good price, when it comes to Schubert. But some individual ones look great, too (I also have my eye on the mini 'set' of Beecham 3,5 and 6, which sounds lovely).
Anyway. I suppose I have probably narrowed it down (for now) to Abbado and Blomstedt, and poss Bruggen. I like the sound of Abbado's smaller orchestra and more vigorous sound. Perhaps I'll get (over time) all three!
Hi Steve,
My nomination is Claudio Abbado/Chamber Orchestra-Europe/DGG.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

stevewright
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by stevewright » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:53 am

Thanks again everyone.

Does anyone have an opinion on Gunter Wand's Schubert?
I have half a mind to wait till birthday time for the big Gunter Wand boxset which includes a Schubert cycle, plus cycles by Bruckner (I'd very much like to get into B, and I gather GW is among the best here), Beethoven (I don't have a cycle, just a few individual discs), Brahms (I have Wand's Brahms already, and love it), etc etc.

Thank you!
S

josé echenique
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by josé echenique » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:19 pm

Wand´s Schubert is excellent too, old school of course, Brahmsian Schubert, beefy but insightful.


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maestrob
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by maestrob » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:25 pm

stevewright wrote:Thanks again everyone.

Does anyone have an opinion on Gunter Wand's Schubert?
I have half a mind to wait till birthday time for the big Gunter Wand boxset which includes a Schubert cycle, plus cycles by Bruckner (I'd very much like to get into B, and I gather GW is among the best here), Beethoven (I don't have a cycle, just a few individual discs), Brahms (I have Wand's Brahms already, and love it), etc etc.

Thank you!
S
Yes, I think Gunter Wand is a vastly under-appreciated conductor, and his Schubert is excellent. Frankly, though, Abbado & Bohm would be my first choices for contemporary instruments. It's good to have both a modern and an HIP version to choose from, depending on your mood. Strangely, the eighth & ninth seem to work better for me on modern instruments, while 1-6 work better in HIP performence IMHO. The megabox is a steal for Wand fans.

As for Wand's Bruckner, his best work was in Cologne: his later Berlin recordings have various tempo and ensemble discipline problems to my ears. Not sure which Bruckner is in that megabox.......

RebLem
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by RebLem » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:38 am

I have 4 complete sets of the Schubert Symphonies: Abbado, Harnoncourt, Marriner, and Muti. My favorite is the Harnoncourt, because it places a bit more emphasis on the woodwinds and brass than the others, all of which emphasize the strings above all else.

But the action really isn't in the sets. Absolutely essential are the Beecham recordings of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8. Szell in 8 and 9 is very good, too.
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parsifal
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by parsifal » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:52 am

In case you want one outstanding CD with Schubert symphonies, please don´t miss Beecham´s #3, #5 and #6 (EMI) Krips´s #9 is also a great account.

Kjell Nilsson.

John F
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by John F » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:38 am

Yes, Beecham's recordings of #1 and #2 are very nice, and the second symphony is special. He recorded them for Philips so they aren't in the EMI Schubert/Beecham collection. I'm not so keen on Beecham's #6, which is fine through the first two movements but the finale ambles along and finally gets a little tiresome. Mainly Schubert's fault, of course, but a more sprightly tempo helps the music.
John Francis

Marc
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by Marc » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:16 pm

My favourite cycle on period instruments is the one with Jos van Immerseel conducting his Anima Eterna, first released in 1997.
In general, I find them a bit more entertaining than Brüggen.

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complete ... B00008PW45

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Symphoni ... B00005AQZ6

The most recent re-release was on Zig Zag Territoires:

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-The-Comp ... B008XQ4MS4

maestrob
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Re: Schubert symphonies advice

Post by maestrob » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:16 pm

Marc wrote:My favourite cycle on period instruments is the one with Jos van Immerseel conducting his Anima Eterna, first released in 1997.
In general, I find them a bit more entertaining than Brüggen.

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complete ... B00008PW45

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Symphoni ... B00005AQZ6

The most recent re-release was on Zig Zag Territoires:

http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-The-Comp ... B008XQ4MS4
Yes, I have that set and they're very good. :)

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