"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…."
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…
2007 release of a mammoth box set of 50 CD's with key recordings from the Angel/EMI Music classical catalog. Performers include Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Quatuor Hongrois, Heutling Quartet, Erich Leinsdorf, Jean-Philippe Collard & Augustin Dumay & Frdric Lodon, Christian Zacharias, Paolo Bordoni, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Geoffrey Parsons, Lucia Popp, Barbara Hendricks, Radu Lupu and many more.
The great Bohemian-born composer Gustav Mahler once said, "A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything." Over the course of its nearly 300-year life, the symphony has indeed embraced almost every trend to be found in Western concert music.