Home  |  Hi-Fi Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News       

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Franz Schubert
Symphony No. 1 in D Major, D 82; Symphony No. 3 in D Major, D 200; Symphony No. 7 in B Minor, D 759 ("Unfinished").
Jonathan Nott conducting the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra

Review By Max Westler
Click here to e-mail reviewer

CD Number: Tudor 7141

 

  The same team responsible for the impressive Mahler Fifth I discussed last month now returns with the first installment in a projected cycle of the complete Schubert symphonies. As with the Mahler, Jonathan Nott's honesty and intelligence lets us hear this familiar music in a different way, which is probably why this recording has drawn such hostile fire from establishment critics. The complaint lodged against the performances of the very early First and Third Symphonies is that they lack the charm and geniality of the classic versions by Sir. Thomas Beecham. While it's true that charm was Beecham's strong suit the old boy could have charmed the spots off a leopard it is also true that sometimes his early Schubert seems self-consciously arch, and (especially in his approach to the scherzos) too heavyset and slow-moving. In contrast, these performances are consistently faster, at once more sprightly and bristling. Nott emphasizes the youthfulness of the invention here, its boisterous and sometimes brawling impetuosity. Though exciting, Nott doesn't overplay his hand and make the music sound too tense or serious (as Igor Markevitch certainly does in his thrilling and wrongheaded version with the Berlin Philharmonic, recently reissued on DG). In the end, I prefer Nott's directness and high spirits to Beecham's showmanship and wit.

The "Unfinished" is more provocative. Several critics seem to have dismissed this performance solely on the basis of its unusually slow tempos and dark, heavy textures. It's true that Nott doesn't serve up this score in the Viennese manner (mit lots of schlag), nor does he indulge its burnished, "hurts so good" melancholy. For Nott, the "Unfinished" is a tragic work: Schubert's dark night of the soul. Grave and stunned, this performance of it brings to mind the Emily Dickinson poem that begins, "There is a pain so utter / It swallows substance up/ Then covers the Abyss with Trance...." In many (including some very well known) versions of this symphony, the first movement is not sharply differentiated from the second. Here the somber, stricken mood of the allegro gives way to a restless and anguished andante that achieves a sense of resolution, if not solace, in the closing pages. Though this doesn't displace any of my favorite versions (Kleiber, Giulini, the late Walter, and Furtwangler), it certainly complements them by letting me hear something in this music that no one else does.

The playing of the underrated Bamberg Symphony is just as impressive as in the Mahler Fifth, and the sound just as transparent and realistic. In this case, those who defy the nay-sayers will be well rewarded.

 

 

Performance:

Sound:

Enjoyment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Premium Audio Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews

 

Videos
Our Featured Videos

 


Show Reports
Montreal Audiofest 2024 Report

Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
HIGH END Munich 2023
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
AXPONA 2023 Show Report
...More Show Reports

 

Other
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

 


Industry & Music News

High-End Premium Audio & Music News

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

 

 

     

Home   |   Hi-Fi Audio Reviews   |   News   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.