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  Tudor -
  CD 7142
  Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4 - Nott
  Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4 "Tragic"

Bamberger Symphoniker
Jonathan Nott (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 3

Site review by Polly Nomial August 9, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by wehecht April 20, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This recording of two early symphonies by Schubert is a real treat. Though Schubert was just 18 and 19 respectively when the two works were written, and only glimpses of the eventual composer of the "unfinished" and "great" C major are present ( I refuse to get into the numbering of the late symphonies, since Tudor has adopted the recently revived practice of calling the "unfinished" number 7), the two works are far from juvenilia. While number 2 may reflect more of the spirit of late Mozart, if without his formal mastery, and number 4 more of the passion of Beethoven (8 of Beethoven's 9 had been published and performed by the 1816 date of Schubert's 4th), each offers quite enough to enjoy and appreciate in its own right so that I don't sit listening for the next bit wondering which of Schubert's great predecessors it will sound like. In the end I'm happy that it sounds like young Schubert. The title of number 4, the "Tragic", even though supplied by the composer strikes me as unfortunate, implying, as it does, a much darker or grimmer work than it actually is. Jonathon Nott conducts lively and sympathetic performances with plenty of power where needed, and the Bamberger Philharmoniker acquits itself admirably. The brief notes are helpful and the English translation is far better than we usually get from German originals.

The recording is excellent, particularly bearing in mind its origin in a coproduction with Bavarian Radio Munich. The booklet contains no information about the recording technology so I assume its hi-res pcm. In any event it translates very well to multi-channel sacd, with sweet strings, crystalline winds and a nicely judged sense of scale. The rear channels are used discreetly, lending a sense of space not present on the stereo layers. I frequenty find level setting more critical with sacd than with rbcd, and so it was here. Things can get a little blowsy and raucous if the playback level is pushed too high. In my case a cut of only 1-2 db was perfect.

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Review by terence April 30, 2006 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
i find the rear channels more proactively used than wehecht does - in fact i reckon there's more coming out of them than on virtually any other SACD i currently own. it's not by any means the full utilisation you get on the wonderful TACET beethoven syms. 7/8 SACD i reviewed recently, but it certainly travels a little down that particular highway.

to me this works very positively, warming up the lower strings in the orchestra, and stretching out the soundstage most pleasantly. as i think someone has mentioned elsewhere on this site re. the tudor/bamberg recordings, you are fairly close to the conductor's vantage point here. but i find no hint of claustrophobia or aggression. i find the engineering and overall effect excellent.

and the performances? superb, really. nott has a highly idiomatic feeling for these early schubert symphonies. rhythms are springy and athletic, with perky woodwind detail and a ripe, mature tonal glow from the bamberg orchestra.

interpretively the readings are broadly similar in outline to abbado's highly praised RBCD schubert cycle with the chamber orchestra of europe. but nott is a far more interesting and convincing interpreter - the CoE versions leave me with a rather slick, antiseptic impression.

the second symphony is hugely enjoyable - i can't think of any version i've heard which i like better. the fourth is also a very fine performance, but it's nowhere near as good a symphony, and might disappoint schubert apprentices.

all in all a splendid issue. it's my first tudor purchase. there will be others.

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Works: 2  

Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, D. 125
Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 4 in C minor, D. 417 "Tragic"