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Discussion: Schubert: Symphonies, Masses 5 & 6, Alphonso & Estrella - Harnoncourt

Posts: 8

Post by Polly Nomial June 3, 2015 (1 of 8)
Having only taken delivery of this set this evening, this is my initial impression on sampling the 500+ minutes of this set: like Nott's scale of orchestra but far more refined, more HIP than Nott but far from obsessively so. Far better recording than Nott received.

There has presumably feedback about the Schumann set having discs stacked upon one another, this set has a rather different solution offered.

Oh, and I wish I lived in Berlin!

Post by Chris June 4, 2015 (2 of 8)
This new BPO set has also already been announced on several downloads sites.
After their first Schumann series recorded at 24/192 this later? one seems to be recorded at pcm 24/48 judging from the sites I have checked.
I know it doesn't seem to matter to most people here. But I wonder why they chose a lower sampling rate this time around?
I would like to hear how Harnoncourt paces the famous theme of the Unfinished though,irrespective of sample rate.
And there seems to be a lot of music included in the bluray package, not just the symphonies.
Maybe an interesting alternative to the smaller forces from BIS?

Post by Polly Nomial June 4, 2015 (3 of 8)
It's because, unlike the Schumann, these are "historic" recordings from 2003-2006.

Post by Chris June 4, 2015 (4 of 8)
Polly Nomial said:

It's because, unlike the Schumann, these are "historic" recordings from 2003-2006.

Wow "historic",then maybe they will be released on shellac as 78 rpms as well.
Joking aside,good to hear that being the reason for the 24/48.
I am all ears as far as the musical/interpretative part of this set is concerned.
If Harnoncourt doesn't speed through,which seems to be a la mode now, one of the most hauntingly beautiful tunes ever written I might get that symphony as a download.
But for the rest of the symphonies I am quite happy with what I have on "historic" LPs from Böhm/Giulini/Karajan neither of whom rushes through the Unfinished by the way. And the earlier symphonies are quite well served by BIS in their opening doors series imo.
Fischer's "7/9th" is in most respects a wonderful modern DSD recording. But I need an Unfinished not only heavenly played but equally well recorded as that one.
Have you got any idea what else they might have up their sleeve next for release on their independent label?

Post by JohnProffitt June 4, 2015 (5 of 8)
It would appear that the Blu-ray contains everything in 5.0 multichannel -- can someone confirm this? The two Schubert late Masses, in A-flat and E-flat, are also included, along with Alfonso & Estrella.

Quite a lot of Schubert, actually, but I am very curious about the quality of the multichannel component.

Post by ramesh June 4, 2015 (6 of 8)
Chris said:

But for the rest of the symphonies I am quite happy with what I have on "historic" LPs from Böhm/Giulini/Karajan neither of whom rushes through the Unfinished by the way. And the earlier symphonies are quite well served by BIS in their opening doors series imo.
Fischer's "7/9th" is in most respects a wonderful modern DSD recording. But I need an Unfinished not only heavenly played but equally well recorded as that one.
Have you got any idea what else they might have up their sleeve next for release on their independent label?

Hi,
I bought the Japanese EMI SACD of the mid 1970s Karajan BPO Unfinished with Haydn 104. Both movements are on the slow side, with ravishing orchestral playing, the most refined technical execution I've struck in this symphony. I had been disappointed with the murky sound on the older CDs, but this remastering has made a significant difference. The sound doesn't have that slightly bright, bass-light picture one strikes in Karajan's DG BPO 1960s Beethoven symphonies/overtures, Sibelius and the Schubert 8&9.But the dark tonality and now clearer detail on the SACD gives it for me the aural quality of a Caravaggio or late Rembrandt painting in terms of their colour palette : entirely suitable for the emotional worlds of these masterpieces.
Karajan unhurried speeds for both movements 11'59, 13'39, belie Schubert's allegro moderato and andante con moto, but make this into the great symphony which Wagner never composed.

Post by Polly Nomial June 4, 2015 (7 of 8)
Hi John, all the music is offered in MCH (5.1 according to my equipment not 5.0); initial impressions are pleasing.

Hi Chris, some tempos are quick, many are not. The citation of Schubert seemingly foreshadowing Bruckner in the notes is very apposite for the readings given of Schubert's greatest symphonies.

Post by Chris June 6, 2015 (8 of 8)
ramesh said:

Hi,
I bought the Japanese EMI SACD of the mid 1970s Karajan BPO Unfinished with Haydn 104. Both movements are on the slow side, with ravishing orchestral playing, the most refined technical execution I've struck in this symphony. I had been disappointed with the murky sound on the older CDs, but this remastering has made a significant difference. The sound doesn't have that slightly bright, bass-light picture one strikes in Karajan's DG BPO 1960s Beethoven symphonies/overtures, Sibelius and the Schubert 8&9.But the dark tonality and now clearer detail on the SACD gives it for me the aural quality of a Caravaggio or late Rembrandt painting in terms of their colour palette : entirely suitable for the emotional worlds of these masterpieces.
Karajan unhurried speeds for both movements 11'59, 13'39, belie Schubert's allegro moderato and andante con moto, but make this into the great symphony which Wagner never composed.

Hi ramesh,
I forgot to mention two other recordings in my LP collection of the Unfinished which are also good imo.
Klemperer recorded it with the Philharmonia in 1963 and apart from a certain thinness at f and above it is wonderfully clear very coherent recording.
And Klemperer,of course was not known for racing through things so he takes his time both with "THE" theme and articulates the tutti"tarararararam" chords following it clearer than than any other recording I know.
If taken too fast both the tune itself can lose its heavenly beauty and the dense chords easily turn into just an undefined blur. But not with Klemperer.
And Eugen Jochum conducting the Boston symphony for DGG ten years later has I believe already been re-released on SACD too if you want alternatives to Karajan's EMI recording which on LP doesn't remind me of a Caravaggio or Rembrandt.
If anything it is a bit shrill and overbright on LP. But that could be because it is one of EMI's Quad LPs and they have a tendency to sound a bit overbright on my system.
I might try the hi res download and hear if that transfer has tamed the shrillness on an otherwise excellent interpretation and recording.
Cheers Chris

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