Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

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Fritz Lehmann conducts Beethoven & Schubert

Fritz Lehmann conducts Beethoven & Schubert


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36

Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b

Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'


Recorded 1952-4

“The BPO plays [the Schubert] extremely well though without the intensity they brought to bear in the very different performances given by their regular conductor. Lehmann’s is altogether a more relaxed view of the work, aided by some distinctive wind playing - not least by the first flute.” MusicWeb International, 30th August 2013

“His tempos in the Schubert symphony may be conservative, but if the andante is inclined to plod, the opening movement, superbly played by the Berlin Philharmonic, generates real tragic power. The Beethoven symphony is very spirited” Sunday Times, 13th October 2013

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Otto Klemperer conducts Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz & Mozart

Otto Klemperer conducts Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz & Mozart

Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, February 1968


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

Berlioz:

Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Love Scene

Mozart:

Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K477

Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'


This concert was given as a memorial to the British publisher, liberal humanitarian and music-lover Sir Victor Gollancz (1893-1967). The founder of the influential Left Book Club, Gollancz started his own publishing company in 1927 which came to specialise in left-wing and American books. He was also a prolific writer on political and humanitarian subjects and, eventually, on music. His life was informed by his unconventional religious beliefs – a combination of the Judaism into which he was born, his individual version of Christianity and readings into other faiths. This motivated a life-long activity in human rights issues. It was typical of Gollancz to have been a campaigner both for rescuing Jewish victims of Nazi persecution (and the first to predict a six million death toll) during the Second World War and for giving increased aid to German civilians once the war was over, contesting Field Marshal Montgomery’s plan to allow the population only a little more than concentration-camp rations.

The repertoire for the concert was chosen by Gollancz’s widow Ruth and his daughter Livia and represented all his favourite composers bar Verdi. The programme opened with an appreciation by his friend, The Observer music critic Peter Heyworth, and incorporated quotes from Gollancz’s own writings on the music being performed.

The Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart were old friends of Klemperer’s repertoire; he had first recorded the Unfinished and the Beethoven item with the Berlin Staatskapelle in the 1920s, re-recording them with the Philharmonia in the 1960s. The Love Scene from Roméo et Juliette harked back to Klemperer’s Strasbourg days under Pfitzner when, in 1910, he gave the complete symphony its local première.

The concert programme ended with Gollancz’s praise of music from his 1952 autobiographical sketch My Dear Timothy. ‘Why has no one ever included, among the various “proofs” of the existence of God, the musical? Music is as much mimesis, imitation, as any other of the arts: Beethoven doesn’t invent anything, he perceives something and tries to reproduce it. Then how does it happen, what Beethoven tries to reproduce in, say, the E flat quartet? Can anyone imagine that it happens accidentally?’

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Otto Klemperer conducts Bruckner & Schubert

Otto Klemperer conducts Bruckner & Schubert

Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, March 1967


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major

Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'


No less an interpreter of Bruckner than Günter Wand once called the Fifth Symphony ‘the most perplexing work in the composer’s canon’. Under Otto Klemperer performances of the Symphony (which he had substantially to relearn when the new Robert Haas edition restored a 122-bar cut in the finale) were always something of an event, even if audiences outside Austria and Germany – especially American ones in the late 1930s, and Walter Legge in the 1950s – at first found the work something of a trial.

Klemperer first conducted the Symphony in June 1927, in his last days as general music director at the Wiesbaden Opera. He repeated this programme in October 1932 when he had become sole director of the Berlin Staatskapelle concerts, ignoring a request from Furtwängler to substitute another symphony to avoid duplication with the Berlin Philharmonic later in the season. Enthusiastic reviews preferred Klemperer’s ‘sharper outlines and clear, cooler light’ to Furtwängler’s ‘essentially romantic’ approach. The Berliner Börsen Courier found that ‘Klemperer gave the enormous Symphony all the splendour of colour, the pathos, the hymn-like fervour it calls for. The structure was entirely clear, never before has one experienced the intellectual unity of the finale so strongly... precisely because Klemperer never exaggerated... everything was contained by a calm that comes with complete maturity’. It was Furtwängler who had to change his programme that season.

This is now the ninth performance of a Klemperer Schubert Unfinished to be preserved. It follows an early 1924 studio version with the Berlin Staatskapelle (one of Klemperer’s first discs), the EMI Philharmonia recording of 1963, and ‘live’ performances in Budapest, Turin, Jerusalem, Munich, Vienna and London (the last two also available on Testament). The Symphony was always a Klemperer favourite and one which responded well to his characteristic forward woodwind balance... Klemperer’s choice of the Symphony to open the programme for Bruckner’s Fifth made for a less abrasive, perhaps more relevant start to the concert than the Beethoven and Mahler he would have preferred before the war.

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Schubert: Late Symphonies

Schubert: Late Symphonies


Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'


Philharmonie Festiva, Gerd Schaller

“If all his compositions were to be destroyed except for two, I would say: rescue the last two symphonies.” Such were Antonín Dvořák’s words about Schubert in 1894, and such is the attitude of many today. While Schubert’s six earlier symphonies were esteemed, his last two are known as works of immense beauty and complexity.

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Schubert: Famous Symphonies

Schubert: Famous Symphonies


Schubert:

Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D417 'Tragic'

Symphony No. 6 in C major, D589

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'


Hänssler Premium Composers - HAEN94611

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 8

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 8


Schubert:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D485

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

Rosamunde, D797: Entr'acte No. 3


Neue Orchester, Christoph Spering

Naive - OP30192

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8


Schubert:

Symphony No. 6 in C major, D589

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'


PentaTone continue their collaboration with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Herreweghe.

“Herreweghe and his Flemish players are clean, precise and pretty, with very little of any dark emotion. [the Unfinished] sounds much more like a piece from the Classical period, and arguably, that is what Herreweghe intends...While this would not be my prime recommendation for either symphony, there is much to admire in both orchestral execution and Herreweghe’s thoughtful interpretations.” MusicWeb International, March 2013

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William Mengelberg conducts Franz Schubert

William Mengelberg conducts Franz Schubert


Schubert:

Symphony No. 9 in C major, D944 'The Great'

recorded 19th December 1940

Sonata in A minor 'Arpeggione', D821

recorded 12th December 1940

Gaspar Cassado (cello)

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

recorded in November 1942

Marche Militaire, D733 No. 1

recorded 17th April 1942

Rosamunde, D797: Overture

recorded 27th November 1941

Schumann:

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

recorded 10th October 1940

Emil von Sauer (piano)


Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, William Mengelberg

Andromeda - ANDRCD9109

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Karel Sejna: Great Czech Conductors

Karel Sejna: Great Czech Conductors


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'

Mahler:

Symphony No. 4 in G major

Maria Tauberova (soprano)

Mozart:

Le nozze di Figaro, K492: Overture

La clemenza di Tito, K621: Overture

Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 'Prague'

Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'


Rarely mentioned in the same breath as his illustrious colleagues Talich, Kubelík and Ančerl, Karel Šejna (1896-1982) was perennially second-in-command, yet despite failing to receive the credit he deserves he too played a crucial role in shaping the history of the Czech Philharmonic. Initially solo double-bass of the orchestra, he began conducting upon Václav Talich’s request and in 1939 was officially named its second conductor. And he also remained deputy after the departure of Talich, who was replaced by Rafael Kubelík, as well as after Kubelík’s emigration, when Karel Ančerl was appointed (originally against the orchestra members’ will) to the vacant post of chief conductor. Consequently, still playing “second fiddle”, Šejna went on to conduct dozens of concerts and make numerous recordings, which today rank among the finest in the Supraphon archives. Period critics branded him a flexible and vivid conductor who always required an understanding of the style and consistently worked with detail. In 1972, Šejna rounded off a half-century of work for the Czech Philharmonic with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Šejna’s sensitively remastered recordings from 1950-1962, from the bracing Mozart played “with a light hand” to Mahler’s fourth, are now released by Supraphon for the first time on CD.

Supraphon Great Czech Conductors - SU40812

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 'Unfinished'

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 'Unfinished'


Schubert:

Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D759 'Unfinished'

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D485


DG Virtuoso - 4784039

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