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Collector's Ed: Schubert - the Symphonies
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947878391
  • Item #: 1448409X
  • Release Date: 2/3/2015
CD 
List Price: $19.98
Price: $14.60
You Save: $5.38 (27%)

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Description

Collector's Ed: Schubert - the Symphonies on CD

Fran's Brüggen's recordings of the Schubert symphonies with the Orchestra of the 18th Century were made at live performances in the Vredenburg concert hall in Utrecht between 1990 and 1996. Brüggen's name had originally been made as one of the twentieth century's most dazzling and influential recorder virtuosi, but by this time he was well established in the top echelon of period conductors, with, among other things, an acclaimed Beethoven symphony cycle behind him. More than that, he had a distinctive manner, often bucking the trend of the day towards swift speeds and light textures in favour of a marriage of textural clarity and measured tempi that brought to the music a firm architectural grip, broad grandeur and reflective intensity. It could certainly confound expectations; Brüggen's approach lent the earlier symphonies what for many listeners must have been unsuspected gravity, while one London reviewer, writing of a performance of the Unfinished, wondered if the period-instrument sound wasn't the fig-leaf for an old-fashioned, romantic interpretation. By his own admission, Brüggen was not a purist. He was just as likely to choose a surprisingly fast tempo as a slower one, but his reasons for doing so were primarily musical. In short, he was more flexible than his period counterparts, pursuing a freedom of interpretative detail that is triumphantly vindicated in his superb reading of Schubert's Ninth Symphony, a work whose open spaces demand the finest judgment of tempo relationships, dynamic contours and structural awareness. Brüggen's death in August 2014 deprived us of more wise and humane performances like this, but his recordings still stand for his achievements, as he acknowledged they would. They are children of mine, he once said. They ll live forever. - thanks to Lindsay Kemp.