"Purely from a historical performance viewpoint, there is much of interest here: Staier plays on an 1825 Johann Fritz four-pedalled fortepiano. (…) Very much a disc worth hearing, then, and one that will surely complement some treasured modern instrument performances of these works." ~musicweb-international
Acclaimed for his great recordings of works by Mozart and Berlioz, it is a little surprising that Sir Colin Davis is not equally hailed for his superb renditions of Schubert's symphonies, a repertoire for which this conductor's blending of Classical elegance and Romantic passion is perfectly suited. Previously released as a box set in 1996, this RCA Complete Collection reveals Davis as a masterful interpreter of Schubert's unique uses of symphonic form; and his performances have real momentum and coherence, the two qualities that hold these symphonies together. Davis' sense of trajectory is plainly evident in the first six symphonies, which adhere to Classical models and depend on forward motion and clear structures to convey the unity of their movements. But propulsion is even more critical in the more expansive frameworks of the Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished," and the Symphony No. 9, "The Great".
"…Recorded in 1955 and 1958, respectively, these performances with the phenomenal Boston Symphony Orchestra sound magnificent with the spacious separation and the close simulation of a real orchestral environment made possible by DSD and multichannel remastering. Beyond the superb audio quality, these recordings are fascinating documents of Münch's elegant interpretations of Schubert…."
In nearly every respect this is outstanding. The Rondo brillant and the Fantasie, both written for the virtuoso duo of Karl von Bocklet and Josef Slawik, can sound as if Schubert were striving for a brilliant, flashy style, foreign to his nature. Both are in places uncomfortable to play (when first published, the Fantasie’s violin part was simplified), but you would never guess this from Faust’s and Melnikov’s performance; they both nonchalantly toss off any problem passages as though child’s play. The Fantasie’s finale and the Rondo brillant are irresistibly lively and spirited, and this duo’s technical finesse extends to more poetic episodes – Melnikov’s tremolo at the start of the Fantasie shimmers delicately, while the filigree passagework in the last of the variations that form the Fantasie’s centrepiece have a delightful poise and sense of ease.
Limited edition 100 CD box set on the premiere classical label Deutsch Grammophon. Subtitled from Gregorian Chant to Gorecki. For some it will be the ultimate reference tool. For others a big place to start on something they always wanted to know about. Either way, the idea is to present a comprehensive history of Classical Music from its origins to the present day, covering all periods, including all major composers.
George Szell's Philips Concertgebouw legacy includes some distinguished recordings, with the scintillating Midsummer Night's Dream suite taking pride of place. Few if any rivals can match the ''Scherzo'' (not even Szell's later Cleveland recording is as buoyant or precise), while the Overture is extraordinarily well drilled and the ''Nocturne'', although cool, has a genuine sense of repose. The Schubert Rosamunde excerpts display all the drive and textural clarity that Szell habitually brought to, say, the Great C major Symphony…