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

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Schubert:

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

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


St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Lande

After completing his 6th symphony in 1818, Schubert struggled to complete another symphony. Nos.1-6 display a deep knowledge of the symphonies of Haydn and Mozart and his hero Beethoven – especially his 2nd symphony. The influence of Rossini can also be detected in the early symphonies. The creative crisis concerned Schubert’s attempts to find a symphonic voice that was his own.

The years 1818-25 saw him commence 5 symphonies, and abandon 4 of them. Immediately after the 6th he started work on a D major work D615, but left only two unfinished opening movements. 1820 saw a more adventurous project, again in D major. The expansive and nearly complete scherzo looks forward to the Great C major’s scherzo. The other movements are fragmentary. The E major No.7 from 1821 is in a different league. Calling for the largest orchestra in any Schubert symphony, the four movements have the word ‘fine’ scribbled at the end of the score. Schubert only partially scored this work, but it provides a fascinating view to what was to come. The following year the B minor No.8 ushered the new symphonic style Schubert has been striving to find.

Dramatic and highly emotional, it is a mystery why he never completed the work. The scherzo lacks a trio, and the finale cannot be traced. It is possible that the outsized (and identically scored) entr’acte from Rosamunde was intended as the finale – it certainly resembles the finales of his earlier symphonies. The two-movement torso had to wait until 1865 for its premiere. The 9th was fully completed in 1825 – the only symphony Schubert completed in the last decade of his life. His long journey to create a ‘Great’ symphony had been achieved. The 9th is one of the towering masterworks of the repertoire. A gap of 11 years elapsed before the premiere conducted by Mendelssohn in Leipzig. Schubert commenced work his 10th symphony in 1828, a visionary work that foreshadows Mahler, it was to be his symphonic ‘swan song’ and his sixth unfinished symphony. Schubert’s 8th and 9th are the only symphonies of the period to rival those of Beethoven.

A convincing answer to the bias that only Austrians can play Schubert well: also these Russian forces grasp the meaning of Schubert’s universal language, as expressed in the tragic 8-th Symphony (the Unfinished) and the Symphony No. 9, of “Heavenly Length”.

Brilliant Classics - 94243

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Schubert:

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

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


Recorded live at the Philharmonie, Berlin, January 1977

“Giulini’s temperament, a combination of Mediterranean warmth and asceticism, was well attuned to Schubert’s last two symphonies...The “Unfinished” Symphony marries quasi-spiritual serenity to a natural sustaining pulse. The Ninth, played with all the repeats, unfolds as a continuous stream of music: Giulini reveals its lyricism and unhurried beauty.” Financial Times, 23rd July 2011 ****

Testament - SBT1463

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Schubert: Symphony No. 8 & Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4

Schubert: Symphony No. 8 & Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4


Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 'Italian'

Schubert:

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


DG - 4108622

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Schubert:

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

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


Musikkollegium Winterthur, Douglas Boyd

Following on from their release last month of Schubert's incidental music to Rosamunde (MDG9011633), the Musikkollegium Winterthur brings us Schubert's last symphonic works. The Musikkollegium has been active in Winterthur since 1629; Douglas Boyd became principal conductor in 2009.

“Characteristically warm and affectionate readings of two of Schubert’s best-loved symphonic scores, conveyed here with the insight that has become Douglas Boyd’s trademark” london24.com, 17th June 2011

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MDG Scene - MDG9011636

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Schubert:

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

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


Definitive series of great classical music on EMI Classics with legendary recordings re-mastered at the famous Abbey Road Studios.

Warner Classics Masters - 9187352

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Sergiu Celibidache conducts Schumann & Schubert

Sergiu Celibidache conducts Schumann & Schubert

Live recordings 1958-1960


Schubert:

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

Schumann:

Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61


During the Sixties Sergiu Celibidache often worked with the RAI Orchestras and released a series of recordings which have now become classics.

Istituto Discografico Italiano - IDIS6607

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Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 29

Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 29


Brahms:

Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90

Schubert:

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


The evenings of October 22 and 23, 1992 in the Dresden Semperoper brought not only performances for the Dresden audience but were at the same time the start of an extensive tour from October 25 to November 12, during which the Staatskapelle under Sir Colin Davis performed twelve concerts in Japan.

The Staatskapelle seems once more to have tapped the pulse of the Japanese audience with their interpretations and so affirmed their reputation.

“The Schubert is beautiful: warm intensity of tone, long phrases that feel elegant and acutely sensitive, at the the same time, pathos, grandeur, romantic atmosphere, and underneath all that a feeling of steady, unpressured momentum carrying the music to its conclusion.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 **/***

“Davis occasionally bends the line for rhetorical effect...demonstrably smitten by the sheer lustre of Brahms's writing...As to Davis's Schubert Unfinished, breadth and depth of feeling prevail, the transition from repeated exposition to development section in the first movement as darkly mysterious as on any other version” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“These recordings date from 1992, the aftermath of German reunification and a time in which emotions in Dresden were running high...Certainly Colin Davis, who was then building a strong bond with the orchestra, has drawn from it performances that are exceptionally intense in nature...These are fine, thoughtful performances of timeless masterpieces that seemed to find in those years at Dresden a particular time and a particular place.” International Record Review, May 2011

Profil Medien Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - PH08043

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8


Schubert:

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D485

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

(completed Newbold)

Rosamunde, D797: Ballet Music No. 2


Like Beethoven and Bruckner, Schubert wrote nine symphonies, of which the first six were written between 1813 and 1818. The Symphony No.5 (1816) was not performed until 1846, eighteen years after the death of the composer. Schubert wrote it when he was not yet twenty, and it shows the extent to which he had taken in what his older contemporaries were doing (the melodic richness is reminiscent of Mozart), while at the same time developing his own personal style. A light and transparent Allegro is followed by a pastoral Andante con moto and an elegant Menuetto. The symphony ends with a vivacious finale that recalls the style of Haydn.

The Symphony No.8 also goes by the name of the “Unfinished” Symphony. Schubert began work on it in 1822, but for a long time it was assumed that he did not complete it, as only two movements were known for certain to have survived: an Allegro moderato dominated by a sombre theme in which elation and tenderness rub shoulders with tragedy, and a serene and mysterious Andante con moto. Several attempts have been made to reconstruct the remainder of the symphony, one of the most notable being that by the Schubert expert Brian Newbould.

Erato Virgo - 6286052

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Schubert - Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Schubert - Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Schubert:

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

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


BIS releases the next in their ‘Opening Doors’ series in which Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra make a case for performing 19th-century symphonic works with a chamber ensemble. They have previously recorded Schumann’s symphonies as well as a recording of Dvorák’s Sixth and Ninth Symphonies. This disc now features the final works in Franz Schubert’s symphonic genre both of which are arguably the most celebrated of all Schubert symphonies.

“Here's an excitingly combative, and ultimately very plausible new look at Schubert...Dausgaard somehow manages to approach the surviving two movements of Schubert's B minor Symphony as though we didn't all know that it remained 'unfinished'...For once it was hard not to regret the absence of an energetic scherzo or finale” BBC Music Magazine, July 2010 ****

“In this issue, helped also by the clean BIS recording, textures are transparent and attack crisp...A disc that may disconcert some Schubertians but which, very well recorded, offers a consistently refreshing view of both masterpieces.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2010

“This excellent Swedish orchestra performs Schubert’s last two symphonies the modern way, with faster tempos, punchier accents and a leaner sound. The result is like having a layer of varnish removed from a much-loved painting.” The Telegraph, 7th May 2010

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BIS Opening Doors Thomas Dausgaard Complete Schubert Symphonies - BISSACD1656

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Passion & Pain: Adams, Haydn & Schubert

Passion & Pain: Adams, Haydn & Schubert


Adams, J:

The Wound-Dresser

Thomas Hampson (baritone)

Berg:

Drei Orchesterstücke, Op. 6

Haydn:

Symphony No. 49 in F minor 'La Passione'

Schubert:

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


New York Philharmonic - NYP20100202

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