Thomas Dausgaard's recordings with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra of three of Franz Schubert's middle symphonies are displays of authentic period practice in state-of-the-art reproduction, and it's a winning combination. The watchword here is clarity, because these symphonies are models of Classical form and precision, with orchestral writing that is utterly transparent and ideally balanced, so the music is only enhanced by the spacious multichannel recording and direct stream digital processing. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra offers pristine string sonorities, and the winds have the distinctive and slightly pungent timbres of the 18th and early 19th century instruments Schubert knew. Dausgaard's interpretations are clearheaded and meticulous, and it's obvious that his musicians respond to his cogent direction with energy and enthusiasm. BIS recorded these performances on different occasions between 2009 and 2011 in the Örebro Concert Hall in Sweden, so in spite of the breaks between sessions, there is consistently superb sound quality, thanks to the first-rate engineering team and the unchanging venue. Highly recommended.
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".
Few conductors have made a greater contribution to our present-day understanding of Bruckner than Günter Wand (1912-2002).
This first box includes Bruckner symphonies nos. 5, 6 and 8 in their original or restored versions as well as an elegant, but rarely performed Haydn Symphony and the "Unfinished" symphonies by Bruckner and Schubert. Later, TDK released the second box of 4 DVDs including the popular Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 and symphonic works by Brahms and Schubert.
It’s a shame that Végh never recorded a complete Schubert symphony cycle: he was virtually unmatched as a conductor of classical period music. No one knew better how to float a melody (to hear his way with the opening of the Fifth Symphony check out my review of the dreadful Minkowski cycle). It was a combination of characterful phrasing, perfect balances, and (crucially) players encouraged to get involved in the interpretation and characterize their individual parts. In other words, these performances are true collaborations.
– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com