But that would be to shirk my reviewerly duty. The only drawback, that absence of texts, isn’t serious enough to stop acquiring this issue, given that Janowitz virtually tells you in her utterance what the songs are about. The finale, in which the Hagen effectively balance the music’s charming Hungarian flavour with its more sinister touches, provides an arresting conclusion. And rather than emphasising the contrasts of the Trio, Zimerman instead draws parallels between it and the Scherzo. His peculiarly beseeching voice enshrines the vulnerability, tender feeling and obsessive love of the youthful miller, projecting in turn the young lover’s thwarted passions, self-delusions and, finally, inner tragedy. The recording, too, is exceedingly warm, with only the occasional want of inner detail to bar unqualified enthusiasm (sample the main body of the first movement’s development, from say 10'03'' into track 1). | Schubert, typically, forgot it. Here’s an example of how these musicians balance themselves, and how they’ve thought about the different facets of the music. Piano Sonatas – A minor, D845; D, D850; No 20, D959. Most of the part-songs here evoke some aspect of night, whether benevolent, romantic, transfigured or sinister. At least Schubert got to hear his early symphonies. Rarely has he made recordings of the central Viennese classics which find him so naturally Tempi are invariably apt – the opening of the Rosamunde is wonderfully judged. The CD transfers throughout are excellent. In ‘Im Dorfe’ he contemplates the sleeping villagers with tenderness rather than derision, and in ‘Im Wirtshaus’ suggests a deepening life-weariness, with no hint of defiance in the last line. The shadowy opening of No 3 is a miracle of colouring combined with a sure narrative sense, as involving as if it possessed a text as the music grows in turbulence and menace. (The missing Great C major Symhony (then still considered the "Seventh") makes me wonder if the powers that be at DG thought this to be the complement to Furtwängler's 1951 recording of the latter … For a few dollars more, mid-priced CDs expand the choices to include a wealth of fabulous interpretations: the sweet warmth and tenderness of Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony (Sony 64478), the deliberate but surprising delicacy of Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia (EMI 63854), the rhythmic acuity and extroversion of Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic (Sony 47610), the lean, classic molding of any of the three strikingly similar recordings by Arturo Toscanini (of which the last, on BMG 60290, has superior sound) or the architectural splendor of Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic in concert (Music and Arts 795) or in the studio (DG 427 405). Their line is curvaceous and malleable, with a dynamic range that contains many shades of softness. In the Quartet, too, there is much to admire: in the spectral closing minutes of the first movement; or in the slow-movement variations, where you’re held rapt as the first violin and then the cello take centre stage, and the ricocheting rhythms of the following variation – which can sound like gunshots in some performances – display a delicacy and a sense of dance. But every now and again a recording comes along that makes you want to dance in the street, handing out copies to complete strangers. Were he alive today, this recording might even persuade Schubert scholar Maurice JE Brown to change his mind about the seventh variation, which he described as ‘a distasteful episode’. Schubert was one of the greatest composers of the early Romantic era – the best Schubert works feature 10 masterpieces including the ‘Trout’ Quintet. If only certain other artists could be so forbearing. The most popular is the Fifth, a buoyant package of joy, but even the minor-key Fourth (the so-called “Tragic” Symphony) is consistently playful and hardly the deep plunge into soul-stirring despair suggested by its title. You wouldn’t think that a recording by Fischer-Dieskau, given his huge Schubert discography, could still offer an exciting revelation – but that’s what this ‘new’ Die schöne Müllerin recording offered when it was released in 2000. Here is technique fully subservient to emotional force not only in this movement, with its charged F minor middle section, but throughout the whole work. This page lists all recordings of Symphonies Nos.


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